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of trees, farm buildings, and gentle hills that are so singular to this part of the Texas countryside. Admiring these canvases and gouaches, and understanding them to be an evolution — a late-career breakthrough — Anzalone and I shared coffee, sat on his back porch, and expansively talked about art and life. On this moment. William Anzalone: I'm 85. I'm not as strong as I used to be. Run a mile now; I used to run 14. It's a gradual downhill slope, but fortunately I'm as healthy as an 85-year-old can be. This is what I do [painting]. This is what keeps me alive. You deal with today, and I'm pretty sure I'll be here tomorrow. I go one day in the future. On Round Top. WA: My wife and I bought the place in '83. We moved up here full-time in about '86 or so. I commuted because I was still teaching at the University of Houston. I retired in '93 or '94 [after teaching 30 years]. Back in the day. WA: Oh, it was a wonderful place. This area was like stepping back in time. I could walk from my property all the way down to 954 without hitting a fence. I could wander all around here … And if a place was fenced and they had cattle, you could just make sure to lock the gate and there was no problem at all. You can't get to these places anymore. These people want to put gates on everything. They put stone things on the gates, and everything has to have a name … Of course, I don't have fences. I've never fenced the place. I'm doing hay. Why should I fence the place? Your farmhouse. WA: The storage and the living room are the original house, and that is 1870 or somewhere in that period. The rest was added on. I think it was called the Old Marburger place. It was owned by Mrs. Marburger. It was the original league of land you got if you raised cattle. Louise [Anzalone's late wife] was crazy for this place. I didn't care because I wasn't really thinking about painting landscapes. I wasn't interested in living in the country — I'm from Brooklyn, New York. What the hell am I going to do in the country? But my wife wanted to be an organic gardener, and she had been subscribing to Mother Earth News for years, and she decided. I gave her way on this thing. Because we started off in Boston, and moved down to Houston from Massachusetts, she said, "Look, you paint, I'll make the money, and you do what you have to do. Don't worry about it." Somebody who does that for you, you don't give them short strings. So when she said she wanted to be an organic gardener, I figured that was the equivalent of me wanting to be a painter, so I said, "Okay." You and the landscape. WA: The figurative work changed when my wife got Alzheimer's [in 1999; she passed away in 2012]. I just won't paint figurative anymore. She was the 32nd certified organic gardener in the state. She had her garden just on the other side of the house. I started fooling around with painting the landscape before I knew Louise was ill. But I wasn't serious about it. I thought, 'Oh, God, there are such preconceived notions as to what landscape is.' I loved looking at American landscape painters. You could go to [George] Inness or you could go to [Ralph Albert] Blakelock. Meredith Long had a great collection of American landscape painters. Early 19th-20th century. Always an education there. Then you move into the Ashcan School, and there's [George] Bellows, and he's just a terrific painter. I started out really liking people like Bonnard and Monet, and I'm to the point now where they are candy- box painters. It's colors just splattered around. But it's nice and friendly, and I like some stuff that's got some guts to it. You know, to me the answer to everything is black. In essence, I draw it. I draw constantly in paintings, and whenever I have a problem with painting, I draw. On you and the grid. WA: It's a fence. To me, landscapes are useless unless there's something to counteract them. There's got to be a straight line someplace. So I use a fence, I use gates, I use houses, I use barns, I use anything I can stick into the landscape to make sure it's not a bunch of [undefined] woolly willies. In every one of these works, I can tell you where each place is. The road and the gate are everything in that little picture. Now I'm not done with it yet; I'm convinced the gate needs to be a little bit In studio, William Anzalone's latest series, My Places 89

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