Art Students Practice Skills During Visit to Covered “C” Tree Farms
By Teresa Holloway
Messenger Reporter
LATEXO – Dec. 2 dawned gray and chilly, but it didn’t stop the bustle of activity at Covered C Christmas Tree Farm at 5540 CR 1830 in Latexo.
Owners Chuck and Kathy Curless were up early, prepping the farm for the influx of Latexo High School art students arriving at 8 a.m.
Several different sized trees were pulled from their water basins in the barn, shaken, placed in fresh water and prepped for a short career as “models” for the students.
The Curless family farm is a working, productive place, according to Kathy Curless. She said the family enjoys the pumpkins and Christmas trees because each embodies a special time of the year and brings many of the community residents to the farm for a visit.
Every fall, thousands of home grown pumpkins dot the landscape and art classes from schools around the area come to draw, paint and just enjoy the natural beauty of the farm.
“This is my favorite time, though,” Kathy Curless smiled. “It’s cold, the trees are bare, the Christmas trees are in vivid green contrast to the fading summer foliage. It’s a good time for the student artists to use different colors, different drawing techniques and see the same place under winter light.”
Latexo Art Teacher Rhonda Price brings her art classes to the Covered C Farm several times each year. “Fall and its plethora of pumpkins is a class favorite,” she said, “But everyone loves the Christmas time of the year and this year’s special treat is the Christmas tree farm.”
Covered C Farms has sold Christmas trees for five years now, but this is the first year the art students have come out to draw the different trees, according to Kathy.
The high school and elementary artists express their appreciation of the subtle changes in tones of light and the obvious contrasts of foliage so apparent between the seasons, Kathy said. “It’s colder, the sky is different, the atmosphere is different. I think the cold may affect what they see and how they draw.”
“These differences help us better understand the basic drawing, the shading, the depth and perspectives. I really like trying to capture the light in watercolor. That’s a challenge,” LISD Senior Mary Hewett said.
Many may look at a tree and not take particular note of any one thing, but Price is teaching the students to draw the big picture as a compilation of its parts, she said.
Freshman Eric Cutshaw hadn’t yet put pencil to paper by 9 a.m. as he sat, simply staring at his chosen tree.
The small cypress he’d opted to sketch was a singular beauty and he admitted to being a little in awe of the tree itself and simply enjoying the surroundings.
The smell of Frazier fir, the chill in the air and the gray light of an early morning lent itself well to the concentration of the blanketed students.
Strains of Mozart on a smart phone and a ground-cover of colorful blankets nestled between several Virginia Pine saplings created an ideal creative artists’ haven for Angel, Brenna, Claire, Carly and Kaitlyn.
Splitting into working groups of choice, some students were drawn to the natural, wilder state of the young, growing trees while some chose the mature, traditional firs to draw.
The farm has several varieties of trees to choose from. They currently offer pre-cut Frazier Firs and Virginia Pine trees.
In 2017, the Curless farm will offer cut-your-own Virginia Pines, Leyland Cypress and Arizona Cypress trees. “Next year we will have some 5 and 6 footers out there to cut,” Kathy Curless said.
“For now we are bringing in the Frazier firs. We get those and immediately take a cutting and put them in water. That keeps them alive. Once the sap dries out and the tree isn’t taking any water anymore, it dries out. That’s when you have problems with your tree,” Kathy Curless said.
She explained the farm and shipper Covered C Farm is using this year cuts and ships the trees within two days. “As long as you keep a tree watered and fresh, it’s not such a fire hazard.”
Trees are still available at the farm. For more information, the Covered C Farm can be reached at ckc0700@hughes.net or 936-204-3910.
terholloway@hotmail.com