I’m working on a painting for my husband’s Christmas gift. It may not be finished in time, but it won’t be too long afterwards before I’m done. It’s the house where his aunts lived in Weesatche, Texas. It was a little German settlement, with houses, businesses, and a big round gathering hall.
He’s told me how he used to enjoy going to the Fourth of July celebrations there, and all the various foods people used to bring for the table. I would loved to have known him then to see that. Now all that’s left are memories. Weesatch is a ghost town, and the people are all long gone.
I’m working from some old photos that I scanned and enlarged. They were pretty small, about 3″ x 4″ and it was hard to see the details. The earlier one is from 1926, but there’s no date to mark the other one. From looking at the amount the trees have grown, though, I’m guessing the second photo is from sometime between the 40’s and 60’s.
About the people
The lady in the photo is Aunt Eta. Her real name was Louise Emma Riedel Marthiljohni (not sure where the ‘Eta’ came from). She and her sister Elsa Riedel Pastilla (Aunt Elsa) lived in the house. If you’ve found this post and have any information to share about Weesatche or the people of that community, please do drop a comment!
My husband and his sister remember them growing lots of cockscombs in the garden, which I’ve tried to add in there. I can’t tell from the photo what’s really in the garden at the time of the photo. And I’ll be adding some chickens to the barnyard, since there aren’t any in the photo and hubs would like them to be there.
As for the color, I’m using artistic license there. I’d considered doing it sepia-toned like the photos, but then decided to add some color. It’s easy enough to tell that the house was white. Obviously, it looks like summer and the tree’s leaves will be green. I wish I had a palette of TX paints made for this painting, but the Ozark pigments are doing well enough. I’d imagine the shed looks a lot like the shed we have here, so that’s the colors I’m using for that. The sky is blue because it’s just a great opportunity to use the little bit of blue I managed to make this year. Plus, it looks pretty.
Still work to do on the Weesatche house.
Check back soon.
Previous Farmstead Paintings
I’ve only done one previous farmstead painting. If you’d like to see it, click here to go to that process page.
Madison Woods is a self-taught artist who moved to the Ozarks from south Louisiana in 2005. In 2018 she began experimenting with watercolor painting, using her local pigments. She calls them Paleo Paints, and her artwork features exclusively the lightfast pigments foraged from Madison county, Arkansas. Her inspiration is nature – the beauty, and the inherent cycle of life and death, destruction and regeneration.
Her online portfolio is at www.MadisonWoods.art.
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