Master Bates

Dear David Bates,

It was a moonless night on Grassy Lake. The water stood impossibly still, the only disturbance our boat as we navigate the cypress trees. The night is alive all around us. For a moment, we turn off our Q-beams and bask in the endless blackness and let the white noise consume us. A deafening din.

Then the frogging begins.

I’ve been lucky enough experience Grassy Lake with Alex over the years. It’s a special place with an almost prehistoric feel. Peaceful yet dangerous. Ominous but also comforting. When I look at your Grassy Lake paintings I experience the lake in a new way;  through your eyes and through your hand. They really capture the essence of the place, from the wildlife to the impossible stillness I mentioned. A favorite Grassy painting of mine is of a large cypress tree at dusk filled with black birds. The birds hold my focus with just a few simple brush strokes each.

It was awesome to see your exhibit at the Nasher this spring. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it out to Fort Worth to see your exhibit at the Modern, but I’m lucky to have been exposed to more of your work than most. Looking forward to your next series. Maybe some day I’ll be able to buy one.

Thank you

PS: I grew up going fishing in Galveston and love the scenes of the men fishing off the jetties and cleaning their fish.

PPS: I discovered Lightnin’ Hopkins through you and he’s become one of my favorite blues musicians. He seemed to be a real cool cat, with the sunglasses and all. Did you ever get to see him perform?



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