The Donna Lisa

Donna Lisa, Donna Lisa…you’re so like the Lady with the mystic smile.

By now many of you have seen the famous (infamous) photo I took of my wife Donna. The look on her face as she glares at me not only says, “don’t you dare take a picture of me like this”; it also expresses her style of dealing with me for 40 years…namely, “I will brook no nonsense from you buddy…or you will pay”. She has her ways…believe me.

So, being me, I took the picture.

Now, I have taken it one step further and created a painting based on the photo. The look on her face is anything but enigmatic, but I still could not help thinking of Leonardo DaVinci’s Mona Lisa as I worked on it. So for your viewing pleasure (and to further torment the woman I love more than anything), I present “The Donna Lisa” by Michael Watson.

By the way, if something bad happens to me…well just remember the expression on the face of the subject below.

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Winter: Berry Creek Springs, Texas

Berry Creek in WinterThis is my latest photograph in my “Texas as I See It” series to be published later this year. These springs were sacred ground for early native Americans in this part of central Texas. Providing a rich and constant source of precious water, they flowed crystal clear and strong from deep within a limestone aquifer to feed Berry Creek near Georgetown. High bluffs to the west, bordering the creek, afforded any encampments protection from the elements–and offered a vantage point from which to spot potential enemies at a great distance. To the south of the springs, Texas salt grass plains, rich with game and grass, stretched all the way to the Gulf of Mexico . To the north and east—endless prairies teaming with buffalo reached all the way to Canada. But it was the water that made Berry Creek Springs such a special place. Water meant life.

Much later, in 1846, the springs would spawn a gristmill, their waters powering the mill wheel. John Berry, a veteran of the War of 1812 settled the fertile land around the springs. Settlers as well as native Americans bought the meal he ground. Traces of his homestead are still visible today close to the mill lake formed by a small dam over a Century ago.

 

A cold and dreary winter day in February drew me to Berry Creek Springs. I was the only soul there that day. The stillness, the gray, the emptiness weighed heavily on me to create a profound sense of loneliness. Only a faint breeze stirred cold now and again to give smooth-as-glass water an almost imperceptible texture–vaguely ripple like. The sweep of the Pecan trees’ branches, bare and empty and mirrored in that dark water, made the moment magic. It was a photograph I had to take. I hope you enjoy it.