By Jimmy Patterson
SAN ANGELO — When Lorenzo Castaneda was a young boy, his father would tell him stories of artists and would pose for his young son so that he could sketch him.
“He would say, ‘Lorenzo, do a sketch of me.’ We had no TV and we would listen to the radio and and I would sketch him,” Castaneda said. “He encouraged me by allowing me to paint him when I was young. That’s how I got started.”
His early formation as an artist took a huge step forward when his father paid the $600 tuition for him to participate in a three-year correspondence course from a Connecticut art school, a huge amount 40 years ago, but an investment that has paid remarkable dividends.
Castaneda, who drives to San Antonio every weekend to paint in shows at Market Square, has been commissioned by the Diocese of San Angelo to recreate a historic mural showing the massacre at the Mision de San Saba for its 250th anniversary celebration in June.
“My father was the man who got me started and knew painting was good,” Castaneda said.
Now 66, Castaneda remembers making the decision to give up his fulltime job as a nurse’s aid to concentrate on earning a living as a painter.
“For 20 years I traveled all over the state, to Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, and I noticed every time I set out for San Antonio, I would do a little better,” Castaneda said. “When I had a chance to sign a contract with the city of San Antonio, they wanted artists that would do their work there. I signed a contract and they gave me a spot for a year for a place in the exhibition at the Market Square and I’ve done the show every week. That was 23 years ago and I have been going there every weekend.”
Castaneda’s creations are mostly done in water color and his works are of western scenes that capture the action of the moment and represent actual depictions of ranch life today and yesterday.
A parishioner at St. Mary’s in San Angelo, Lorenzo and his wife of 44 years, Tina, have two daughters, Leticia and Diana, and four grandchildren
Castaneda’s home in San Angelo is on the market and once it sells, the couple will move to San Antonio so Castaneda will no longer have to make the weekly 400-mile round trips.
When Castaneda’s painting of the siege of the mission is complete, it will hang in the restored church in downtown Menard. .