By David Talley | Wise County Messenger
LOCAL INSPIRATION – Decatur Artist Byron Watson stands downtown near a Chisholm Trail Days rodeo banner. Watson’s winning painting is featured in banners and advertisements for the rodeo, which took place the last weekend in August. Messenger photo by Joe Duty
A mounted cowboy carefully drives a lively herd of cattle down a gravel road, his quiet resolve offsetting the hectic chore. Behind him, two pickups keep the caravan in check. The scene, firmly imprinted in Byron Watson’s mind from years of watching friends drive cattle, is depicted in Watson’s painting, titled “The North Road.” The painting won the second annual Chisholm Trail Days Art Contest last month.
THE NORTH ROAD – Watson’s painting features a scene from a cattle drive on County Road 4010, east of Decatur. The road runs parallel with U.S. 380 east to Denton County.
Growing up around the ranch, Watson said he got his start as an artist painting cows and other rural scenes. While he later moved on to animation and now teaches science at Keller ISD, he said the painting marks an early highpoint in his career. As the contest’s winner, “The North Road” will be featured in banners and advertisements for the Chisholm Trail Days Rodeo in downtown Decatur.
“I can’t even explain how much satisfaction it [brings] to drive by the square and see it hanging up there,” he said.
When entering the contest, Watson said he first struggled to name his work. His grandfather’s ranch was located just south of County Road 4010, the road depicted in the painting. Watson said his solution was to draw from his grandfather’s name for the roadway.
“I don’t really like titling paintings. It was out of vogue when I started,” he said. “I never really got in the habit. I got taught if you title it, you’re directing [the audience], and if the painting’s not doing it, then it defeats the purpose, so I kind of like to leave it off. But I had to come up with a title for the contest, so I used ‘The North Road’ because that was his name for it.”
The Chisholm Trail Days Rodeo was held the last weekend in August.
WISE COUNTY HERITAGE – Mounted riders lead a past Chisholm Trail Days parade past the Wise County Courthouse in Decatur. The annual celebration marks the historic cattle drive’s route through North Texas and includes live music and rodeo events at the Wise County Fairgrounds. Messenger photo by Joe Duty