PaperCity Magazine

Round Top Winter 2021

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The farm is remote enough that their rural experience hasn't really changed. The sunrises and sunsets are still worthy of long gazes, the darkened sky still reveals the Milky Way's broad ribbon of stars. day of his professional career, but the artistic spark ignited during a summer vacation to Wyoming. One afternoon, he borrowed Jane's sketch materials and hiked to a spot overlooking a beautiful valley, drawing what he saw. "It was so cathartic, I remember thinking, 'Wow, I wish I did more of it,'" he says. Back in Houston, he decided to take things to another level and learn to turn his sketches into watercolors. Since then, he's been studying regularly with noted Houston artist Mark Stewart, who encouraged him to enter his paintings in a recent competition held by the Watercolor Art Society – Houston; Curtis' stark painting of a birch tree in the snow took a top prize. He often works from photographs, snapping anything that moves him — light raking across empty tables at Balthazar in New York City, sheets flapping in the breeze on a clothesline, a weathered metal bucket in front of a window — later sketching the scenes on watercolor paper before bringing out his brushes and paints. The quietude of the farm helps him focus. "If the weather's good, I'll go out on our front porch and pull up a little wooden stool next to an old metal-top table, get some bottles of water, and just paint in the open air," he says. Not too long ago, he snapped a picture of the sun coming up on the farm, fog rising from the lake and settling over the trees. Later, he painted it. "There's something comforting about picking up a brush and trying to capture the pasture in its own environment," he says. "Painting has been a nice complement to life in the country." Bill Curtis and colleague Daniel Ostendorf redesigned the kitchen to preserve its original character, with a few updated elements. The dining table does double duty as a prep area. (Continued)

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