"Welcome To The Heart Of The Megalopolis!" Smithville heart of the megalopolis, said the sign on the outskirts of my new little town. A rural town of 3,500 people, how could this be a megalopolis?
It was a couple land speculators who bought land then lured the railroad with property, who created the need for a incorporated town. Formed around 1900, this railroad town has humble railroad worker's homes and consistent neighborhoods. The town hasn't grown in the thirty years I have lived here, despite Austin's encroachment elsewhere. Smithville is a railroad switching station between Houston, San Antonio and Austin, thus the heart of the megalopolis. In the old days, a passenger train ran to Galveston, so mothers' packed a lunch and sent the kids to the beach for the day. When I meet the Presbyterian minister Reverand Nees he also informed me that Smithville is one of the United States' three great art centers: New York, Los Angeles, Smithville.
Here in the heart megalopolis I paint and find inspiration. Harris Gallery Houston handles my work and has sold many rural, small town images as well as urban imagery. My alley paintings were featured in the human interest section of our local newspaper by the witty writer Julie Ardery. It is a quiet town (except for the trains, and barking dogs) with no big box stores or rows of franchises. Kids still walk the streets or skate to the skate board park. Because the soil is kind, we have both lovely private gardens (I am thinking of my own garden now) and public community gardens where you can pick produce for free. When I first moved here, we only had one stop light, now we have progressed to two. We have access to the Colorado River where I like to kayak and two state parks nearby. There is much to paint and I have found happiness with the slow pace of the life here. I hope you enjoy a journey into my heart, the heart of the megalopolis.