Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas

"Big Tex"
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
10" x 8"
Click here to purchase this painting.

Today is the first day of Fall, and that means it’s State Fair time again in Texas. The annual State Fair of Texas is held at Dallas’ historic Fair Park and has been a favorite vacation spot and tourist attraction since it started in 1886.  The State Fair of Texas is the largest fair in the United States with 2,618,500 people attending in 2010.  Since his debut at the 1952 fair, Big Tex has welcomed all those visitors with his booming “Howdy, folks!”  He stands 52 feet tall, wears size 70 boots, a 75 gallon hat, a size 180/181 shirt, and sports a 284W/185L XXXXXL pair of Dickies jeans (I bet my wife is thinking “I’m glad I don’t have to wash his clothes!”) 
Big Tex is actually made from papier mache and was originally a giant Santa Claus created to encourage holiday shopping in Kerens, Texas.  R.L. Thornton purchased the Santa in 1951 and had Dallas artist Jack Bridges turn him into a cowboy.  He’s had many makeovers through the years, including a nose job in 1953, a mechanical moving mouth in 1959, and a waving hand in 1997.  Finally his head was animated in 2000 to allow it to turn. 
This is an 8” x 10” oil painting on stretched canvas and was painted alla prima in one session.  I’ve painted him against a deep blue sky with just a hint of the flag pole and tether lines below for a bit of scale. 

1 comment:

  1. Mark,

    Great painting of an awesome Texas Icon. Well done.