Art Inspired By Travel: Schulenburg, Texas Addition

Blog Texas Travel

If you drive down I-10 out of Houston, about an hour past Katy, you’ll end up in the little Central Texas town of Schulenburg, Texas. You might know it for the biggest party in Texas know as The Schulenburg Festival, the annual Sausage Festival, or its' painted churches. It's a charming place full of kind and warm people. Like many small Texas towns in the area, its population is a largely German, Czech, and Austrian decent from the settlers that came to the area in the late 1800's/early 1900's. Therefore, it has lots of Polka dance festivals and awesome Kolache shops. 

Texas Sunset

My grandfather bought a 156 acre dairy farm here in 1962 and we still own that land today, but it is no longer a Dairy farm. He ran it about 3 years before the business failed. Even though he had a degree in agriculture from Texas A&M, he was still just a city boy from Galveston who had no real experience in the industry. Him and my grandma decided to keep the land anyways and went up whatever chance they got.  

Below is a photograph of my grandfather with some of his bunkmates at Texas A&M. My grandfather is the one on the far right sitting on the bottom bunk.

Texas A&M 1940's, Vintage Texas A&M

When I was a child, we went to the farm almost every other weekend. I still go as often as I can. I love staying in the old blue farm house, hearing the cicadas hum in the 300 year old oak trees on summer nights, and listening to the coyotes howl in the near distance. I feel so much happiness and love in the presence of this place not only because of the nature and beauty, but because it's where I have memories of being with my grandpa. My favorite is when he helped me learn to ride a bike on the dirt road in the yard. This memory occurred right before his health declined and he passed away. Most of my favorite memories with my grandmother were spent here as well. She has been my best friend my entire life. She currently has severe dementia and can't even remember my name. When I start to think about it, I can't help but feel consumed with sadness. But then I start to remember all of the incredible memories I have with her, especially the ones we made together at the farm in Schulenburg. I remember taking walks on the dirt road with her as the sun rose, talking on the porch for hours after sunset while eating Velveeta cheese dip with Fritos, and I remember her getting up in the middle of the night to walk to the bathroom with me because I was afraid of the house ghost. When I think of that, I don't feel so bad. Those memories shaped who I am in every way, shape, and form. They come out in my art constantly. I love Schulenburg and love who it has made me as an artist.

Below is a picture of my grandmother from the 1940's. 

Vintage Galveston Photography
Below is a picture of her on the farm porch in 2017. 

 The mornings at the farm are my favorite. It always smells so fresh. It's the smell of renewal. Dew all over the green fields. Sometimes in the mornings you can even see coyotes running across the fields back into woods to their dens in the creek beds. To me, it is my favorite place in the world. It has inspired me to create so much art. 

  Okay, enough about all that! Let's see some art!!! 

This is a portrait I did of my uncle Allen. If you ask anyone in Schulenburg if they know Allen, there's a 99.9% percent chance they do. He is know for making homemade ice cream on a tractor hooked up to a generator. Don't ask me how it works because I have no clue. This painting was inspired by the Van Gogh's painting "The Postman". I wanted the paint his face in a thick impasto and colorful way with patches of color making up the face. 

Oil on canvas. 

Allen Roeder Schulenburg

Below is the original photo I used for reference. 

Allen Roeder

Next is a drawing I completed in September of 2020 of my aunt's horse Penny that she keeps on our farm. 

Colored pencil on wood panel. 

Horse Art
Willie Nelson has been one of my favorite artists/musicians since I was a child. My mom has always blared him on the radio along with John Denver. We always listen to him on the porch at the farm in Schulenburg. My love and respect for his artistry inspired this piece. My mother commissioned the original of this artwork but I have prints for sale. 
Willie Nelson Art
Below is one of my first drawings when I started creating art at age 17. I entered it in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo art contest and didn't even place at district. I did not let this discourage me and kept drawing and creating everyday. This piece was based off a photo I took of my uncle's work boot sitting on the farm porch. The photo is below the drawing as you scroll down. 
The very next year my Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo entry went to auction and got 8th place overall. It sold for a whopping $57,000!!! And I had only been creating art for a year. I felt like a honky tonk super star when this happened. And I give all my thanks to Schulenburg for inspiring and fostering my love for livestock. I showed livestock from 4th grade to senior year of high school. This Rodeo Art piece is based off a cow I met named Paisley at a showmanship contest. 
Below are some photos I took of my grandmother at the farm the fall of 2018 for my documentary photography class at UT. These pictures are very special to me because they were taken right before she had to move into an assisted living home due to the severity of her dementia. I will keep these forever and cherish them. At this point she still had some of her memory and knew my name. That is why these are so special to me. I love her so much. 

Documentary Photography

Below are some other photos that were a part of the project. 
This was taken at the Pine Springs Cemetery down the road from the farm. Most of the people buried here passed of small pox in the late 1800's.