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Sunday, August 21, 2011

"There's nothing else in Twin Sisters except a dancehalle and more land, but that's the point."

"House in Kendalia" Acrylic on Board, Buzz Heye

It's 100 degrees.  Two AC wall units hum. I'm sitting in a rocking chair on a cement floor inside a tin building that used to be a storage facility that has morphed into a local gallery, The Bulverde Area Art Center.  Across the drive from the gallery is Mike's in the Village, a great destination, fine-dining experience with a rich, New Orleans fare.  It's located inside a 100 year old structure  that used to be a nine pin bowling alley. 

At four PM, it's so quiet, I can almost hear the old Germans who settled this area whooping "Strike!" across the landscape.  There are six vehicles in the parking lot: one of them is mine and the other five belong to Mike's employees.  Before I close the gallery at eight, six or so folks, three couples who've dined at Mikes, will stroll through, toothpicks in hand, nodding and pointing at the art.  They won't buy anything.  But they should. 

This show of local talent celebrates the 175th anniversary of Texas' independence from Mexico, so of course, it features some of Texas' most cliche scenes and images, including the capitol and a longhorn. The featured artist is retired architect, Buzz Heye . His piece titled "House in Kendalia" is my pick for best of show. Of course, Kendalia, an even more rural community than Bulverde located about 15 miles north of here, is one of my favorite spots on earth. I want to live there when I grow up. They don't have stores in Kendalia (well one very small ice house privately owned), especially not Walmart, which I've heard through the grapevine is about to build in Bulverde.  

Karl Vaught has captured a near photo-realistic image of the popular "Arneson River Theatre" located in San Antonio on the river walk.  While the Arneson Theatre is well-known and often visited by tourists, Robert W. Pettigrew's nostalgic oil on canvas painting of "Twin Sisters," another, even smaller community a few miles further north, depicts the elbow room and pastoral charm of the Hill Country landscape that Texans love.  The area is named for the two small hills in the painting.  There's nothing  else in Twin Sisters except a dancehalle and more land, but that's the point.

Next door to and inside the same building with Mike's is The Bulverde Emporium, a consignment antique shop. I'll let you know there's a spot open for lease in the shop just in case you're interested in doing business.  Besides the gallery, Mike's, The Emporium, a privately owned ice house, a post office, a couple of small business park strip centers, a courthouse, and a private air strip there's not much going on here in downtown Bulverde.  

Now if you go out onto Hwy. 281 at the intersection of Hwy. 46 about five miles from here, you'll see the world you know closing in on this sleepy German settlement:  Home Depot, a Super HEB (grocery), Chevron & Exxon gas stations, banks, schools, and soon, a Walmart.  

Progress.   It makes me sad.  And, I'm glad I no longer have to drive the twenty miles back to "town" (San Antonio) I used to have to drive for groceries.

You may be able to tell my age by my sentiment.  Good.  If you share any of it and you feel drawn to a simpler time, a slower paced culture, you can find a taste of it here.  The paintings are like a dream within a dream, the primary dream being the historical property and quaint setting in which they find themselves hanging.  

Bring a date.  Come see the art.  Dine at Mike's. Invite yourself to leave your i-phone at home & step back in time for a while.

"Arneson River Theatre" Oil on canvas, Karl M. Vaught

Entrances to Mike's in the Village & Bulverde Emporium

Emporium window panes

Adjacent landscape

Gallery exterior with antique tools

Gallery exterior

Gallery tin ceiling

Gallery rocking chairs

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"Twin Sisters"  Oil on Canvas, Robert W. Pettigrew

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