TAMARISK (Salt Cedar) ON THE RIO GRANDE
Substrat: Stretched Canvas
Size: 20" h x 24"w x .75" d
Description on the back of the painting: When I first settled in the area, I fell in love with the beautiful trees that grew along the banks of the Rio Grande. To me, they possessed an ethereal grace with their featherlike branches and plumes of pink blossoms. I wanted to plant these heavenly trees all around my house, until I found out they were not from heaven, rather from hell.
Tamarisk, common name saltcedar, is a scourge of riparian lands in the Western U.S. and abundantly grew on the banks of the Rio Grande until an army of beetles was sent out by the US Dept of Agriculture in 2006. One tree sucks up 200 gallons of water a day. Uncontrolled, they become invasively prolific and eventually take over all other vegetation. The little beetle soldier has a voracious appetite for the tamarisk’s tiny scalelike leaves (which give the branches their feathery likeness), and the army has marched (eaten) its way from South Texas all the way up into New Mexico within several years.
Today the riverbanks in the El Paso area are virtually bare of these trees where once they, bad as they might be but beautiful, made scenic vistas. Not all have succumbed to the biological warfare. A small family of survivors at a bridge in Canutillo (little town that straddles the borderline of New Mexico and Texas) were the models for those featured in this painting. However, by artistic license, I transplanted the survivors from the side of the bridge they actually live on to the side of the bridge in the painting's view.
dv / 2016