Sayles Ranch Guesthouses

SAYLES RANCH GUESTHOUSES Abilene, Texas Experience West Texas "John Wayne at Starbucks" Style

"Not your granny's B&B!" An innovative alternative to luxury accommodation needs in Abilene, TX! Our specialty is high end, West Texas style decor that stimulates an interest in the romance of our heritage and satisfies the craving for an interesting and thought provoking lodging experience.

Mission: To address the niche market of people looking for something more than the same-o, same-o chain hotel experience, when they visit Abilene, and to give them a level of luxury that is not available elsewhere in Abilene. And to involve others in the adventure of the Sayles Ranch Experience by staying connected with the ongoing process of designing, antique shopping and hunting for one of a kind objects to repurpose historic buildings that create that Sayles Ranch Experience. Come treasure hunt with me in "Nowhere America", otherwise know as West Texas!

Sayles Ranch

Our first attempt to bring West Texas Style Hospitality to Abilene in an innovative, “never been tried before” way. Inspired nearly 20 years ago by the promising Frontier Texas!, we felt that after experiencing the story of our romantic western heritage, and eating a steak at Perinis, Abilene visitors needed to sleep in a handmade Mesquite bed under a beautiful set of antlers, instead of in generic hotel room that looked like anywhere in America. We faced a lot of push back, and it wasn’t easy to survive in those early days. The local paper published an article saying the Browders had caused Santa not to come to Sayles Blvd that year! Now, with AirBnB everywhere, people don’t find it to be so threatening. I’m glad we took the risk and dreamed the dream! Thanks to all the believers who stood by us!

Finished the kitchen floor this weekend. If you don’t like SW style you might not like it...but you wouldn’t like any of the rest of this quirky house either!

Painting Kitchen Floors—In progress

A couple of days ago I posted the initial planning and taping stage of my project to paint the kitchen floors at our Pueblo Revival house we are working on. Here is where I have progressed to. I still have a ways to go and pulling the green tape off and revealing the unpainted wood portions is always a bit like opening presents at Christmas! But that will have to wait until tomorrow! If you don’t like Southwest Design, you won’t like these floors...but you wouldn’t like the house anyway because it’s the real deal, Old Santa Fe Style. My attempt with this design is to stay true to the architecture, but I have simplified the design to make it feel more modern to blend with other modern elements in the kitchen. There’s really no right or wrong to this kind of thing. Just trying to create something unique.

Sayles Ranch—West Texas tradition with a Nuevo Western vibe—we call it “John Wayne at Starbucks” Style!

Painting the kitchen floor—-

I’m showing the in progress photo of my current endeavor. On the hundred year old Pueblo Revival house we are redeeming, the kitchen floors are the original hardwood and were in a lot worse condition than the rest of the house because of years of wear and water damage. It is a galley kitchen that is long and narrow so I am painting a design on the floors with black and white paint and also leaving portions of the wood showing (where the green tape is) for the third color. I wanted something graphic and adobeish but also clean and contemporary. I am showing a rug from an Internet ad that has been a bit of the design inspiration. With the design, I am attempting to draw your eye horizontally instead of long ways with the length of the room to try to create the impression the that room is wider than it really is. I’ll post more in a few days when I get the design resolved and the painting started.

Before Tiny Houses were a thing.....

Cabin Fever, our century old carriage house. The antique ceiling tin came from the ceiling of the hundred year old grocery store in the little town in Oklahoma where I grew up! Many people wouldn’t believe this is here in Abilene, right under their noses, but it is!—just our little secret!

Falling Star Lodge....because who hasn’t at one time in their childhood secretly wanted to be an Indian?

Daybreak at Downton Abbey, our English library style guest house, part of the Sayles Ranch Guesthouses collection:

Most of our guest houses ooze West Texas aesthetics but not all! Imagine waking up just as the sun streams through a gothic, stained glass window while you savor coffee from a fine, English China teacup. Everything you encounter here suggests you are in another place and time. Old world art, Edwardian English antiques and herringbone plank floors convince your mind and heart.

This weather....this attic loft room....this magic!

A cup of tea from an English porcelain teacup, and a contemplative moment at morning’s first light streaming through the cathedral window at our English Library style guest house, Downton Abbey.

When vintage law books become wallpaper....

“Formidable Foe”

The Comanches were an imperialistic nation whose dominance boiled down simply to brute strength. They lived a violent, and brutal life but it was straightforward and relatively simple. They took what they wanted, be it land or horses, and they chose their leaders mainly based on who was the strongest and bravest warrior. Quanah Parker was a son of a Chief, but he was also the son of a captive white woman so being a “halfbreed” was a bit of a handicap for his future as a Chief and the main way he overcame it was strength. Man against man was the Comanche way and for hundreds of years it worked on the Llano Estacado. The most powerful men became the leaders and survival of the fittest was the solution against every advisory...until the latter part of the 19th century on the Texas Plains.

“Formidable Foe” depicts Chief Quanah Parker, futilely drawing the bow against the encroaching steam engine train. Man against man was no longer the option as the white men’s technology created new challenges that he was not equipped to defeat. I wonder if he felt very much like you and I do in this second decade of the twenty first century as we often face challenges the we have no answers for. What has always longer does. For years, many of his people believed that they could defeat the encroaching white men by power and bravery in battle, but Chief Quanah Parker had to change his world view and was more effective at it than many of his peers. He was visionary in his ability to see things differently and adapt. How frightening and bewildering it must have been for see that what had always been effective, no longer worked.

This latest painting is one of a series of paintings depicting Chief Quanah Parker, and the clash of cultures between the Comanche Nation and the Texanians. It is 48” x 48”. The painting is Acrylic on 120 year old, hand written deeds, glued to canvas, from Parker County, Texas. It is significant that Parker County was named after Isaac Parker, the Chief’s mother, Cynthia Ann Parker’s uncle. These deeds conveyed Land once controlled by the Comanches. In this most recent work, a large part of the picture plane reveals the historic documents and these actual relics from the time period of the event have become an important part of the artwork both visually and symbolically.

To inquire about price, contact Terry Browder at 325-669-6856

October is nearly over and we are headed straight to the Christmas Season. I was thinking of several inquiries I have had where people have not yet made a decision. These days, it’s hard to find something really special for that person “who has everything”. Would an original work of Art be the answer? Of the paintings I have done this year, these are the only two remaining unsold, but they are both great choices. Email me at: [email protected] To inquire about price. #paintingindians #saylesranchguesthouses #southwesternart

Sayles Ranch Guesthouses—

What if your hotel, didn't feel like a hotel at all?

What if it felt more like home than home sometimes does?

There's more than just one way to think when it comes to accommodations in Abilene.

We invite you to think differently and magically about your options when you book lodging in Abilene!

Context is the magic element in interior design. How objects relate to each other by scale, color and shape is vital. Take this quirky, Mid Century lamp for example. In the consignment store it was just an ugly old thing....but by making it “play nice” by relating it’s horizontal bands of blue and turquoise to the blue denim chair and the various blue book covers as wall covering and cutting the sweetness of the blues with some chocolate browns in the leather ottoman and accent pillow, the lamp is a show stopper! This is at our property called Dance Hall, a former ballet studio.

Spending time in the studio this afternoon, prepping another canvas with 120 year old, hand written abstract documents that conveyed land once controlled by the Comanches!

Art is personal....

When I do a painting, the best ones are driven not completely by visuals—color, composition, symbols, etc., but sometimes by a very vivid and overwhelming thought, emotion or idea, or a strong combination of all of those.

I posted this painting, “Cry of the Prairie Flower” a couple of months ago when I finished it. It depicts the compelling story of the recapture of Cynthia Ann Parker and her dramatic attempt to save her baby girl, Prairie Flower, and herself from being killed by the Texas Rangers in a raid on their camp. Just as she was about to be overtaken from fleeing on horseback, she held the baby in the air in surrender, desperately crying out for them to halt their fire. There is so much drama in the incident that even the cactus “Prairie Flower” symbolically cried out to the Great Spirit for help for the mother and child.

I think it has been my favorite in the series I have been working on, but it is admittedly different from the others and has not been the most popular. It is complex and there is so much symbolism in it. I had hoped that it would evoke the intended emotion in just the right viewer/buyer, as other more recent paintings have sold before it.

A couple of days ago, that happened, and I am so pleased that the painting sold to woman who is a champion and savior of children. I told her after she had made the purchase and it was hanging in her living room that the painting depicts more than just Cynthia Ann Parker. It represents strong women who are courageous and put themselves at risk for their children and that I was pleased that she had bought it because in a sense, it represents women just like her!

You see, art is personal.

Prepping another canvas with 120 year old historic, Parker County land grant deed documents that conveyed Land that was at one time controlled by the Comanches. The conception and anticipated birth of another piece in my ongoing series about the clash of the Comanche and Texanian cultures.

“The Chief’s Dream”

“—and above all the low chant of their traveling song which the riders sang as they rode, nation and ghost of nation passing in a soft chorale across that mineral waste to darkness bearing lost to all history and all remembrance like a grail the sum of their secular and transitory and violent lives."

----- Cormac McCarthy, "All the Pretty Horses"

The land grab of white settlers moving Westward and the killing out of the buffalo were certainly two of the biggest threats to the Comanche Nation of the Great Plains, but another was white man’s technology—the railroad. It gradually slithered across the Llano Escatado like a belching, billowing serpent. In this most recent painting, “The Chief’s Dream”, I have depicted a nightmare Chief Quanah Parker might have had. The sinister train in his dream is charging toward him edging him partially off the canvas under a full moon, known as a “Comanche Moon because the full moon was when Comanches raided white settlers’ cabins. The Comanche Moon struck terror in the hearts of white settlers but this time the Chief is being raided. There is a new Chief coming to the prairie in this evil incarnation and if you look closely the engine has the face of a skull with a hint of a headdress. Years later, the Santa Fe Railroad actually named one of their engines, “Chief”! A couple of other subtleties include faint graffiti lettering “Chief” on the side of the coal car and the tracks are actually opposing arrows which to the Comanches was a sign of war. Chief Quanah Parker’s war staff is broken and a Scissor Tail Flycatcher has momentarily perched on the broken staff. The Scissor Tail Flycatcher appearing in a dream was a sign of a cutting with the past to the Plains Indians and the double diamonds with a dot in the center was a symbol for the medicine man which meant a predicting of the future. Scissor Tail’s tail is cutting the Medicine Man symbol to bits as they pass between her tail feathers.

Again, this painting is another in the series I have been working on. I used 120 year old, hand written deeds from Parker County, glued to canvas, as a base for the work. These documents take on special meaning because Parker County was named after Isaac Parker, Chief Quanah Parker’s Mother’s uncle. This is a reference to historic, Native American Ledger Art. The acrylic painting is 48” x 48”. Price available upon request.

The Comanches were not a peaceful First Nation tribe and they lived a transitory and violent life which was very difficult to sustain, even without the multiple threats of the white men. But even this at risk existence was changing.

Art is storytelling...but with more than just words.....
Terry Browder, July 2018

Here is my most recent painting:

“Cry of the Prairie Flower”
—as she realized she was about to be overtaken, she held her baby, “Prairie Flower” high in the air in dramatic surrender—

“During the conflicts between the Comanches and the white settlers, the men were usually killed, but it was the women and children who invariably suffered captivity and unspeakable atrocities, both Indian against white and white against Indian.”

In 1860, on a retaliatory mission for the recent, Comanche raids against white settlers in Jack, Palo Pinto, and Parker Counties, 23 year old Captain Sullivan (Sul) Ross, who later in his career became Governor of Texas and President of Texas A & M University, led a group of Texas rangers through Northwest Texas. Near Mule Creek, a tributary of the Pease River they surprised a Comanche hunting party, comprised mainly of women and children. The location was a few miles northeast of present day Crowell, Texas. History books call this the “Battle of Pease River”, but it would more accurately be described as a massacre. Most of the men were away hunting, and the almost defenseless women and children were all killed except for a young boy taken captive, and a woman and her baby girl who fled on horseback. Captain Ross chased after her and —as she realized she was about to be overtaken,she held her baby, “Prairie Flower” high in the air in dramatic surrender—Halting his gunfire, he was astonished to see that she was not Indian, but was a blue eyed, white woman, who he would later discover was the legendary Comanche captive, Cynthia Ann Parker and her infant daughter, “Prairie Flower”.

In this instance, it was white brutality to Indian women and children, but the terror of Indian against white women and children was debatably more unspeakable.

My painting entitled “Cry of the Prairie Flower” depicts the historic recapture of Cynthia Ann Parker and her infant daughter “Prairie Flower”. The subject matter has double inspiration—the rugged, yellow bloom of the native, prickly pear cactus, the Prairie Flower, and the inhumane brutality suffered by the women and children on both sides, a subject not easy to discuss in detail. The colorful sunset, the burning teepee and the desperate attempt of a mother to save her baby, “Prairie Flower” are illuminated by an otherworldly color palette and expressive brushwork.

This painting is part of a series and the ground for the painting is influenced by the Ledger Art of the Plains Indians who drew and painted on recycled paper and documents they sourced from scouts. Hand written, 1890s deeds, from Parker County, Texas, that conveyed land once controlled by the Comanches are used. There is a deeper level of meaning in that Parker County was named after Isaac Parker, Cynthia Ann Parker’s uncle, who searched for her for two and a half decades. I have incorporated actual history pertaining to the event within the artwork.

This acrylic and historic document piece is fairly large—48” x 60”, and Native American symbols tell part of the story. At the very top of the painting are pink diamonds in the sky with a circle and a dot inside, creating a halo around the child. This is a Plains Indian symbol for the “Great Spirit”. The motif of the square with an “X” inside is a Plains Indian symbol for HELP and they emulate from the center of the Prairie Flower around the mother and child and upward as a symbolic cry for help to the Great Spirit. Because of the terror and helplessness of the moment, even the cactus blossom cries out to the Great Spirit for help!

Painting, is a redemptive act both on the part of the artist as well as the viewer. In addition, when art becomes Story, it reaches another level of the redemptive expression by validating, repeating and remembering. Art’s language and visual vocabulary powerfully transcend mere words....

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