PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston March 2022

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W hen the kids were younger, the family spent weekends at the farm "doing all the things you can't do in town," like fishing in the lake, hiking the creek, shooting skeet, and swimming in the stock tank. At night, under a magnificent canopy of stars, they built campfires and watched movies on the side of the barn; at times, coyotes yipped and howled in the distance. The kids are now grown or away at school — they have two daughters and a son ranging from 18 to 24 years old — so it's often just Curtis and his wife at the farm. While nearby Round Top has exploded in the last few years with visitors, shops, and new restaurants, 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, and the coyotes can still be heard from miles away. Days at the farm are contemplative and often spent in the kitchen, cooking, reading, or working on jigsaw puzzles. Four years ago, Curtis took up watercolor painting. As an architect, he's sketched every 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 Above: The living room, looking toward the library. Vintage antlers. Curtis designed the stool. Vintage hickory chairs. Antique table and chairs made from local pine. Flag painting by Mark Stewart.

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