To my astonishment I realized early in the week I'd never sat down to make a good photograph of this painting, "The Waterloo of the West: The San Jacinto Battleground", after it had hung in my studio for more than two years. Partly, this was because, for a long time, I wasn't satisfied with it. What you see in this image is directly affected by late changes to color and contrast the painting seemed to need to come alive. But partly it was also just distraction and pandemic fatigue.I had just never gotten around to it. . .
In case you're curious, the title derives from Santa Anna's statement to Sam Houston on the day following the battle. Knowing that Houston had secured independence for Texas the Mexican dictator said there was- (paraphrasing) "no small fortune for the man who defeated the Napoleon of the West".Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna did not lack for self-respect.
To me, Sam Houston's response- repose and towering restraint in the leadership necessary to save the dictator's life- represents nothing less than a mythic moment in the history of North America, something that ought to imbue the place with a magical quality. San Jacinto is a place of almost unimaginable consequence.
I wanted the painting to glow with that consequence.