Today was a big day at Dancing Red Ranch. We took delivery on a garden sculpture — “Ocotillo” — by Houston-based artist Damon J. Thomas. We fell in love with the flock of gently swaying red cardinals when we saw them exhibited down by the creek at TASTE Wine + Art Gallery in Johnson City late last fall. Gently tethered above a large stone by curled rebar “branches,” our ceramic cardinals manage to be all at once ponderous, and humorous, and stately. For Thomas, birds are a symbol of the spirit; likewise, we cherish the beauty and delight of all our birds here at Dancing Red. (A pair of hummingbirds have discovered the new coral honeysuckle vines, which are just smothered in flowers for their first spring. We ate dinner out on the porch, and the sound of the hummingbirds was intense. I thought it was a truck up on the road!)
It took us a while to decide where to place the sculpture. Finally, we planted it — after all, it is “Ocotillo” — in the midst of oaks, redbuds, cedar elms, and crape myrtles that we’ve added at the front of the house. Half tree, half flock of birds, the sculpture is a happy splash of red to welcome visitors down the long green drive.
Here’s a slidshow of how gallery co-owner Warren Vilmaire and his assistant, the sculptor Eric Krause, assembled “Ocotillo.”