By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
Christmas decorations will be plentiful at the state capitol in Austin again this year and Gainesville resident and accomplished artist Judith McMillion-Smith has been selected by District 68 State Representative Drew Springer to create an ornament representing the colorful history of the district.
The ornament is hand-painted brown and white and looks similar to the cowhide of the longhorn cattle that once traveled along the great Chisholm Trail through Texas. Accented with burlap, feathers and a nod to Springer and District 68, the ornament well represents the look of a Texas Christmas.
Using oils, acrylics and graphite in most of her work, McMillion-Smith’s renditions are deeply steeped with images found in the west Texas landscape where she was raised. The pictures recall a time when the pace of life was slower and unencumbered by the trappings of a modern day world.
“I spent years near cattle ranches in the Montague County area and especially loved the majestic beauty of longhorn cattle,” McMillion-Smith said. “I have painted and drawn many longhorn cattle in my career and each one is a little different, just as each are different in life.”
McMillion-Smith’s western inspired themes have taken her to Austin before. Springer was so impressed with her work that he chose a favorite longhorn picture to take to Austin for display in the state capitol. More of her works hang in his office on the south side of the square in Gainesville.
Springer’s district director Jennifer Vogel said that it is a great pleasure to have Judith McMillion-Smith’s work displayed near her desk.
“With a large district to cover, Representative Springer is out of the office quite often but I get to enjoy Judith’s work every day,” Vogel said.
Now making her home in Gainesville, McMillion-Smith still relies heavily on her Texas roots.
From the graphite simplicity depicting a yellow tabby cat basking in the sun to an old farm truck laden with rust and faded green paint, McMillion-Smith’s images stop time for a moment as yesterday blends with today. From a proud longhorn in old ranch vignettes to the vast western skies, life in the Lone Star state is what she loves and what she paints.
By CATHY MOUNCE
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