Carole Pyburn (1932-2010)

Cantaloupe and Pears

imageThis oil painting hangs in the home of Gloria Turner, Mom’s sister, in Cisco, Texas. She has several other paintings which I will post as well. But this one is very characteristic of Mom’s soft-touch style, especially during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

– Bonnie Sudderth


Some of the old-time sheriffs never even wore a gun. A lot of folks find that hard to believe… Gaston Boykin wouldn’t wear one up in Comanche County…

– Opening Scene of No Country for Old Men, narrated by actor Tommy Lee Jones

Gaston Boykin, 1906-1999. was a proud Texan and native of Comanche County. He accomplished many things during his 93-year walk on this earth. He served as sheriff of Comanche County for 26 of those years.  But what I remember most is that he was a great friend to both of my parents.

My Dad was a lawyer during most of the years that Gaston served as sheriff, so their paths crossed frequently, often as they went in opposite directions.  Despite the fact that they usually found themselves on different sides in the courtroom, they retained a strong friendship over the years, a friendship based upon mutual respect.

My mother and Gaston developed a strong friendship over the years as well. Their friendship was not based, as it often was back in those days, on the mere fact that she was the wife of his friend Ben.  Gaston acknowledged my mother as a woman in her own right, an artist whose talent he recognized and admired. Even after my parent’s marriage ended, Gaston and Mom’s friendship endured, as did his friendship with my Dad.

Over the years, Gaston commissioned several paintings from Mom. One of the most notable was the portrait of John Wesley Hardin which currently hangs in the Comanche County Historical Museum and was featured in a post on this site on August 1, 2011 .

When he was just a 19 year-old cowboy, Gaston organized the first Comanche rodeo.  A record 6,000 spectators attended the event. Gaston had a genuine interest in helping people and improving their lives, which made him a popular sheriff in Comanche County, so popular and well-respected, in fact, that during his tenure he never saw the need to carry a gun.

A cowboy to the very end, as an elderly man Gaston lamented, This is the first time in my life that I have not had a horse, but I can still dream, so I can ride.

Here is the portrait Mom painted of her very good friend Gaston Boykin in 1980:

Gaston Boykin

Many thanks to his daughters, Marilyn and Judith, for sending a photo of it to me.

— Bonnie Sudderth

Cowboy & His Horse

This oil painting of a man and his horse is so realistic – it’s as if the cowboy and horse could just walk right out of the canvas.

It was commissioned by Mrs. Beck of Stephenville, Texas in 1977, and according to Mom’s notes, it is a portrait of her late husband.  I don’t know where it is today.

— Bonnie Sudderth

Here’s Santa after he’s returned home from his Christmas Eve journey, relaxing with a hot cup of cocoa in his big easy chair.

SantaMom painted this one for me as a Christmas gift in the mid-1990’s.  It’s not Christmas without Santa’s portrait hanging on my dining room wall!

Merry Christmas!

— Bonnie Sudderth

Texas Turkeys

To help celebrate Thanksgiving, I thought I’d post three of Mom’s wild turkey paintings.  Throughout the years, Mom featured wild turkeys in many of her works, and she always seemed to capture their color, their gait and their wildlife habits.  This first one was painted in 1976 for the First National Bank of Gordon, Texas:

I know nothing about the next painting, except that she painted it in 1977.

Mom painted this last one in 1978 and it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Red Durham, of Comanche, Texas, who were close family friends.

— Bonnie Sudderth

A Cowboy’s Coffee Break

Mom wasn’t much of a cowgirl, but she could really capture the cowboy culture in her artwork.  I don’t know where this rangler went, but he couldn’t have gotten far – the cigarette beside his coffee mug is still lit!

If every picture tells a story, this one is certainly a tale of the Old West.

— Bonnie Sudderth

Couple in the Garden

This is a sweet one of a couple in the garden.  I don’t know who they are or the current whereabouts of the painting.  It has the characteristic subdued tones and impressionistic style that Mom’s paintings were known for.

— Bonnie Sudderth

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