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Hello, Monticello

Autumn ride through Monticello

Each Monday and Wednesday around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, I drive north on Highway 11 on my way to college for my film history class. As I reach northern Jasper County, the grassy rolling hills dotted with a few clumps of tall oaks is puncuated with the bright blue sky and highlighted with large billowy clouds. How beautiful! Could Monet paint a more beautiful painting than this view I get on Monday and Wednesday?

During the wildflower season the roadbeds around here are filled with wild purple verbena, orange tulips of tiger lilies, the yellow faces of tickweed. It reminds me of my visit to Arles, France in Provence to see Van Gogh’s garden. The city has preserved this garden amidst sidewalk cafes named Van Gogh, souvenir shops filled with postcards of his paintings there and suddenly you are standing in the garden where he created the beauty on canvas. Hurray for wildflowers and the joy they bring us each spring and fall.

Gorgeous Monticello sunset on a summer evening.

If you have occasion to drive west on Highway 16 as the sun is setting, you will see a living painting of  brilliant reds, yellows, oranges with some purples mixed in. The intense colors remind me of the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe.

I will never own a painting by these artists unless I find one accidentally at a yard sale or a thrift store, so I am content with one that I bought many years ago at a starving artist sale. The painting is of a weathered, wooden house with a tin roof sitting in a field, a threatening sky above and a small pond. It could have been painted in my great Aunt Betty’s backyard in Arkansas. It brings back many happy memories of my visits there. The artist simply signed his name “Gene.” Thanks Gene for bringing me years of joy.
Take a drive this week and enjoy the beauty of Jasper County! And if you are an artist try to capture this beauty for all to see.


By Janet Jernigan, Contributing Writer

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