Deep Ellum Impulse

I had a wonderful day doing a full-blown photo shoot with one of my Artists on my Moodee Cactus Records label. Meet the riveting Jonny Ford! And stroll along with me as I spotlight some of my favorite graffiti murals in Deep Ellum.

Jonny Ford with Moodee Cactus Records

Dallas, Texas!

Deep Ellum was developed in the late 19th century composing mostly of arts and entertainment venues located just a little east of Downtown Dallas.  It’s mixed with homes that have been there for decades, clubs, restaurants, quaint shops, unique furniture stores and art galleries. 

Frank Campagna is one of the most sought out and hired Graffiti Artists in North Texas and as you wonder throughout Deep Ellum you will be admiring much of his best.  His work is scattered all here and there!  Not only is he known for his graffiti, Dallas loves him and remembers when he opened our first (unlicensed) punk club which was located in his Kettle Art Gallery.  He is nicknamed “The Godfather of Deep Ellum”. Campagna has been painting murals and graffiti walls since 1989!

As years progressed and Deep Ellum kept advancing as an arts district, a group of artists associated with Frank’s Kettle Gallery began the “Deep Ellum Murals Project” in 2009.  This is the birth of it’s gateway and as we know it today.

The art you see scattered throughout is typically commissioned by the artists.  But from time to time someone may sneak in late at night and spray paint amazing art on the spree and hope they don’t get caught….like my nephew did. Luckily the establishment loved that particular piece he did and upon the police informing the venue owner that “the guy was arrested” and asked “do you want to press charges”, he decided to bail him out and paid him $10,000.00 to finish the project! Lucky Jon!

If you have a shop in Deep Ellum, you gotta keep up with the Jones’ and hire someone to paint far-out and one-of-a-kind artworks!

Murals by various artists
“Bridge Over Calming Art” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

Deep Ellum is a creative hub for musicians and artists where the diverse murals provide an endless collection of backdrops for photographers.  That’s why I selected this area for my full day photo shoot with the talented Jonny Ford!

Deep Ellum is the cultural epicenter for arts where the historical buildings showcase talents of many Dallas and international popular artists by providing expressive larger than life graffiti murals.  One of the most popular murals is the large microphone so I decided to get a really good close-up of it.

Mural by Michael McPheeters
“It Starts Here” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

If you love photographing Deep Ellum’s graffiti and murals, you should go back often.  There is much changing there year to year, buildings being torn down making way for high rise apartments, restaurants coming and going, new clubs popping up and murals going away in the process. I have returned to find the “Flying Pig”, but it disappointed me that possibly a venue decided to add huge windows and the big piggie was not where I thought it was.

I’m so glad I was lucky at the right time a few years back to take the below pic of “That’ll Be The Day” flying pig!

“That’ll Be The Day” Mural by Campagna
“Pigs Will Fly” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

New art work is always blooming and it’s hard to keep up!  So allow me to make a suggestion. Park and pay in the legit spots, it’s worth it. Grab your camera and get jiggy with it!

You should start at one end of Elm Street, take your time and photograph both sides as you stroll along.  I try to make notes of the mural artists as I go.  At the end of Elm Street, turn south and u-turn your way to Main Street.  And repeat these walking and photographing steps as you get to the end of Main to start down Commerce Street. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the retail delights along your way!

“Love Is The Only Thing Worth Fighting For” Mural by Michel Cruz Flores
“Brave Charro” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

While you are on the west ends of these streets, you’ll also want to walk under the I-75 bridge where more awaits you along with a cool doggie park.  Downtown Dallas is just on that other side!

” This Is Deep Ellum” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

Take your time while you are under the I-75 bridge or you will miss something. There are quirky and vibrant paintings on all sides of the columns. Small murals on concrete or metal pieces are spread out in this park style arena and will provide those “insta” selfie moments for ya!

After you have hit all these areas, make sure to drive around the full area and check out Canton Street, Virgil Street, Taylor Street and make your way to the Deep Ellum Brewing Company area.  Plan to spend a full day, of course!

“Imaginarium” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

You will have a vibrant selection of restaurants to dine, you’ll meet lots of street people and fun vendors! You and I both know that for sure you will dive into many of the shops!  I never leave there empty handed.

“Deep Elm” Mural by Michael McPheeters
“Days of Dallas” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

The above mural is one of the largest you will enjoy. I have taken many shots of it, but alas, cars are parked in front most of the time and you have to pick a time to be there when it’s just not that busy. So one of my trips, I took lots of close-ups and glad I did. There’s much going on depicting lots of Dallas history and events.

Mural by Eddie Walker
“Deep Cowgirl” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

The weekends come alive with concert venues, indie musicians, theatre shows, tours and lots of interesting people wondering about!  If you are visiting during a week day, you will still meet a lot of hustle & bustle fun; including many local folks enjoying the restaurants and shopping! It’s an experience you shall never forget!

Jonny Ford & Kettlewell with Moodee Cactus Records
Photo by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

As I mentioned at the start of today’s tale, I was in Deep Ellum for a purpose that day. I am Head of Moodee Cactus Records and I also am a Personal Band Manager for both the artists above. My day was busy taking lots of headshots and musician shots of Jonny, then Brad Sullivan of Kettlewell met us for lunch. Both of these talents are busy in the studio mastering their new albums. Kettlewell just submitted his first album to us titled “Live For Tomorrow” which will be released July 13, 2021. (More to come with this announcement and be sure to keep your eye on the main website for Moodee Cactus Records!)

Album Cover by myself! Tanya Elise’ Howard
Kettlewell “Live For Tomorrow” – Release Date July 13, 2021

I’ve been going to Deep Ellum since my teen years.  It’s ever-changing, always brings surprises to me and full of history.  I hope you enjoyed a visit to my photoshoot day and it’s tidbits! I have so many more photos on Deep Ellum, there will be future posts to come!

I put some of my above photos on my photography website where they are available as canvas wraps, merchandise and more!

Thanks so much for visiting! See you next time!

Tanya Elise’ Howard

Champ d’Or Texas Mansion

May I present to you the Champ d’Or Estate located in the heart of Texas, in Hickory Creek near Lewisville Lake.  The baroque French chateau was designed by Terry Bates (a Nashville architect) and inspired by Vaux-le-Vicomte of Paris.  The name is from the surname of Alan and Shirley Goldfield (CellStar Corp.) “Field of Gold”, who built the home in 2002.

Champ d’Or ~ Hickory Creek, Texas

This 48,000-square-foot mansion sits on 199 acres and built with $52 million, but now worth around $72 million or more. 

If you are wondering about the amenities, let me explode your mind with the scoop!  Beneath it’s 78-foot central dome spans a bowling alley, 18 bathrooms, home theatre, indoor swimming pool and spa, cedar-lined and tiled garage for 15 vehicles, 3 kitchens, French-silk-covered women’s powder room, 18-carat gold Sherle Wagner fixtures, 2 elevators, mirrored grand ballroom to host 150 guests, winding staircases, lavish chandeliers, pool room and a special gift wrap room.

Champ d’Or of course includes a royal master suite with its own spa, lap pool, a 2-story “closet of dreams” Chanel Store style of Paris and hair salon.  The 6 bedrooms have their own private bathroom.

The mansion is surrounded by an exquisite ornate wrought-iron fence protecting its lavish backyard waterpark with slides and tiki hut bars, waterfalls, 2 reflecting pools, tennis courts, pool house, racquetball court and a dreamy rooftop pool.  Enclosed on the property is their own private small pond.

The Goldfields’ have since auctioned it and the buyer turned around and auctioned it as well.  From what I have learned it is currently a wedding venue which holds events by Walters Hospitality; rebranding it as The Olana.  Parts of the land have been also sold, which leaves it now situated on 40-acres.  Further rumors state planning is underway for a lavish hotel and restaurant.

Being from Texas and with my love to explore deep in the heart, I was elated to spend a few hours photographing this lovely unique homestead of a mansion.  The interesting fact of the locale is astonishing to me since the chateau is surrounded by normal Texan folks living their usual lifestyles.  Off Interstate 35 North is a neighborhood Walmart, I-Hop, Micky-D’s and your garden variety of friendly suburb America folks. 

How to get there? Exit Turbeville Road from I-35 North and head west, my friends, if you want to check this out for yourself.  Drive a little further and you arrive at the shores of Lewisville Lake! 

Welcome to Texas!

Compare my original to my final edit!

As my followers know, I sell my artwork on my SmugMug platform but I may be making changes soon and moving to a few new sites. For you if you are interested in purchasing my Champ d’Or Fine Arts photo on canvas or other medians, click here! I welcome all comments.

Thank you! Tanya

Valorous Days At The Renaissance Festival!

Scarborough Ornate Logo PS

Got your tights on?

Enter the realm of a vast Elizabethan 16th Century where real noblemen wear tights and the dames become fair maidens or Queens.   Rebirth thyself and filleth your goblet!  Prepare to danceth with the wenches, tighten up thy  c’rset and consume liketh a king wh’re food is bett’r on sticks!

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“Dancing Doll” Photo of Dancer by Chris Reed, Photo of Entrance & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard

Fancy19 Turq Trim PS

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“Sprezzatura ” Photo by Chris Reed, Photo Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard


The Ren Fair takes you back to the Olde Worlde wh’re thee may cometh as thou art ‘r or dresseth the parteth!

Yes, it’s true!

This is the venue where you will frolic with the local villagers, shop the shoppes, gaze at the shows, cheer on a knight amid the joust and engage with the wondering actors in character.






You will find well crafted ensembles of the Sirs, Madames, Mistress’, Dames, Lords, Majesties and Graces exhibiting an array of Renaissance garments, hats and robes!

Take your camera!

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“Elan Pottery” Photo by Chris Reed Photo Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard



Bring plenty of cash to shop, eat, drink and be merry!  And don’t worry, the bathrooms are ample and appropriately marked as ‘Privies’.








The Renaissance period may have settled it’s end in the 16th century, but in Waxahachie, the medieval time grows forever every year!

The second Saturday brought over 240,000 patrons on a beautiful sunny Texas day!

That’s a lot of costumes!

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“Willful Whim” Photo by Chris Reed Photo Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard


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Keeping with tradition, there seems to be a wonderment in wit among the Medieval working class and courtesans where the recreations at the celebration are reinvented in a poetic way.

4128-TH-0542HC To Troll or Not To Troll

“To Troll or Not To Troll” Photo & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard

I thought this leprechaun was adorable!

He sits quietly in the woods hidden amid his mischievousness and rainbow of treasures!  Hide your golden coins for he will surely snatch’em from your pockets when you aren’t looking!



Please tread lightly if you want to see his wee bit of trickery!

The fair makes for a wonderful family day where the children have more than enough to caper through.   Since kids love dressing up, it’s a perfect time for them to ham it up and be a part of an amazing adventure!

Gather them up for pleasures at the Mermaid Lagoon, Birds of Prey Show, the Children’s Knighting Ceremony, the Cirque Du Sewer Animal Show, the Dragon Swing, Pony & Elephant Rides and heaps more!

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“Princess To Be” Photo & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard

Fancy19 Turq Trim PS

During the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, the proud Knights jousted their way through tournaments showing off their horsemanship and prowess.  The richest of Nobles concocted elaborate melees of combat for the Kings of their time.

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“Knight’s Prowess” Photo & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard

One of the most applauded shows at the Renaissance Festival is “Knights of the Realm” , the Joust, where you can see firsthand their full armors, gallantly dressed horses and brave heroic Lords fighting for their Knighthood.

This photo was quite dusty, so I decided to hatch through the soot and sand to create a more aged fine arts portrayal.  For my photography website, I did a painting…How would you like a Knight hanging on your wall?


Fancy19 Turq Trim PS

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“Dragon’s Troll” Photo & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard



You can shop for corsets, weaponry, leather work, glassworks, jewelry, toys, candles, metal and woodworks!

These are no dinky souvenirs, either.  The people who run these shops are seriously skilled craftsmen.







When you think about Medieval times, one wonders off into fairytale land where Dragons glimmer the landscape with their breath of fire.  At the Ren Fair you’ll indulge your merry clan with oodles of dragons in all sizes and up to large statues spitting water.  The shops at the festival always capture my heart and pocketbook!  I can’t leave without a souvenir to relic my walls, neck or head!

This photo was tough for me to work with.  It would turn out all green or all gold; sadly without a focal trophy in the scene.  So, once again, I decided to create a painting with it….no more greeeeeen!

Speaking of dragons…

Have you ever had a Dragon Snort?

There’s plenty of merriment advancing through the pub houses and taverns.  New for 2017, graze on over to the Dragon’s Lair for your very own Dragon Snort….

Warning: Do not pack your lunch!

Why?  The “Kitchens” are abundant and overflowing with traditional savory cart du joir menus.  Hunt down those turkey legs, munch on a Sausage-On-A-Stick, lick through the funnel cakes and catch all the Blackboard Specials.  This is a day to eat the “Ren-Way”!

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“Harp Monet” Photo & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard



The manifest of performers is endless and once you are there, you can’t help but seek them out!

I found Sarah Mullen mesmerizing the crowd amid her harp music with a celtic flair!






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4262-TH-7306 Scarborough Entrance

“Scarborough Entrance” Photo & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard


Commence yourself into the affluent and vibrant society of the Old Worlde; the Scarborough Renaissance Fair only comes but once a year in Waxahachie.

Maketh thy plans this present day…

April 8 through May 29th

10:00am – 7:00pm

Saturdays, Sundays and Memorial Day Monday

Visit Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, Texas!

With a packed-full list of 27 Stages and Live Entertainment,

be sure to check out the Daily Schedule!

Get thee hence!

Fancy19 Turq Trim PS

If you are interested my photography above, I spawned more of painterly art works from my original photos:

Owl Chemist

Ren Gateway

Scarborough Entrance

To Troll Or Not To Troll

Knight’s Prowess

Dragon’s Trove

Please visit my “Contact Me” page if you are inspired with anything further!

To see more of Chris Reed’s photos, visit his “My Travels” Facebook page!

(Chris is my loving and awe-inspiring nephew!  Thank you, Christopher, for all you do with me and for me!)


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Quote Of The Day:

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G. K. Chesterton

What costume will you wear to the Ren Fair?

Would love to hear your comments!


Fancy19 Turq Trim PS



Bluebonnet Ballyhoo ~ Trails You Won’t Want to Miss




You won’t want to miss the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails when you visit Texas in late March through April!





Your first stop “should be” an educational visit at the Ennis Convention & Visitors Bureau so you can pick up a map!  If you scour the internet for the Bluebonnet Trails referenced street guide of the blooms, chances are you won’t find the map.  So, I made one!

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Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Map

While I parked myself before the desk at the visitor’s center asking questions and looking for a trail map, the friendly assistant shared with me they prefer guests stop in to pick up the actual Bluebonnet Trails Map from them!

The reason made sense.

While daily changes occur from pastures to meadows the coverage can be sprinkled, widespread or utterly populated so far as your eyes can see.   And since they change day-to-day the Park’s employees report back as to which trails are in best bloom for people anxious to see the very best.

She highlighted the North Trail and away we went!

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Ennis Convention & Visitors Bureau




Before I left I took a quick picture of Fred & Ethel…

But first…

Anticipation glides through your thoughts with hopes of spotting as many bluebonnets as possible when you hit the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails.  Along your journey to explore their beauty a sudden espy crowds into your range of what Texas lifestyle is all about.

For my visit this year Chris (my nephew) and I had not even landed at the downtown Ennis Visitor’s Center yet when we pulled over on Highway 287 to enjoy these Texas Longhorns grazing and gazing back at us.

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Longhorns ~ Ennis Texas ~ Bluebonnet Trail

With every mile and every moo, bluebonnets were everywhere!  Woohoo!

Still in search of the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails ~ “before the map” ~ and along Highway 287 from Waxahachie, eye-popping blue florals and Indian Paint Brushes glazed chromatically just as we entered the boundaries of this quaint Texas town.  Pulling off toward the right and up a hill we entered Bluebonnet Park which is part of the West Trails.

The park rests peacefully next to Bardwell Lake (great for fishing) with picnic gazebos, park benches, play areas, walking trails, softball fields and good ole’ restroom facilities.  This is an excellent afternoon hangout for families or anyone wanting to take photos!

I wanted to create a painting from one of the picnic gazebos since it was such a serene and secluded section of the park.  The bluebonnets bounced around the grass and covered fields beyond.

Here is the original photo:

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Bluebonnet Park ~ Ennis Texas

At last we entered Ennis, enjoyed the downtown area and merrily snagged our map for the day.  Finally!!

Following along the North Trail we made our way to Sugar Ridge Road.

If you look beyond the blues of the blossoms….

Expect more and savor the 3-hour drive!

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Belgian Horse ~ Ennis Bluebonnet Trail

As we spun up a hill and from a distance we thought a small herd of Clydesdale Horses were cheering their way toward the fence line as we came to a gentle halt in my Mountaineer;  hopping out slowly not to scare them away.  Apparently people trekking their way up to pet them was no strange experience for them; they loved it!

A couple of ladies stood next to us in awe and explained these were instead Belgian Draft Horses! Once home I did a little research and learned these massive animals are among the strongest of draft horses where their heritage in life had them pulling heavy plows or carts with their powerful natural abilities.

Enjoying our petting spree and photo opp, I really wished I could have taken a ride on one where the bluebonnets blossomed and the sun was perfectly splashing across the hills and ponds.

These amazing horses put on quite the show for us!

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Sugar Ridge Road Pond ~ Ennis Texas Bluebonnet Trail

Now this was a prime and popular spot along the trails!  Yep, there were loads of vehicles and yet everyone had patience and manners allowing individuals to roam the roadside and shoot family photos or scenic pleasures!

We spent quite a bit of time here where everywhere you turned was an amazing country scene to include in our memoirs!

And the drive drove on….

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Union Hill Harley Davidson Barn

Passing by this Harley Barn and farm while photographing like crazy on Sugar Ridge Road made me add a….

“Note To Self”:  Next year do this on a Harley!

Just another example of what your eyes will smoke out along the route!

Snapping around 356 pictures on this gorgeous April 4th, 2017 sunny clear day, it was hard to resist moments stomping around within the pastures filled with the famous Bluebonnets of Texas!  The fields are alive with blue and purple hues during late March and most of April each year.

It’s a photographer’s and painters haven!

While the sun was getting close to setting we made our way back to the popular Texas town!

While you might want to visit Ennis for their Bluebonnet Trails, nearby Texas Motorplex, Ennis Farmers Market, the Bluebonnet Fest, Red White & Bike Parade or their National Polka Festival you are most likely to spend a night or two, right?

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Moore Ventura Bed & Breakfast ~ Ennis, Texas

Texas Historical Landmark

Member of the Texas Bed & Breakfast Association

My choice is to unpack my duffels and secure a cozy stay at Moore Ventura Bed & Breakfast.   Just stepping your first foot on the porch persuades you to stick around for more of all they offer beyond that cushy bed!  1905 was the building year for this outstanding Neoclassical Revival home.

Start the morning with an elegant experience including a 2-course gourmet breakfast selection along with sipping the local based “Buna Bean” coffee.  You may never leave the house once you discover its country charm throughout the garden, patios, kitchen, reading room and opulent Victorian clawfoot bathtub!

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Moore Ventura Bed & Breakfast ~ Ennis, Texas

Here’s a nice view of a befitting casual patio and garden area just off the main entrance deck of Moore Ventura Bed & Breakfast.  I truly believe if you stay here a couple of nights you’ll feel the rewards of a well deserved escape from a normal day’s journey in life!

The garden is perfectly maintained and calls your name to come sit quietly and enjoy the silence!

This sums up a long beautiful day where memoirs will sway and waltz forever as a Texas milepost calls our names to return and do this again!

Proof why we love bluebonnets:

There are songs and poems written about these appetizing wildflowers, Indian lore called the flower a gift from the Great Spirit, there are popular festivals and fair events celebrating the blossom, families and couples spend hours finding the right roadside spot to create memoirs through their cameras, pet lovers sprawl inches away from their furry critters to take their photos, gift shops and boutiques adorn their outlet with garments and souvenirs for us to lavish and show off and finally, of course, it just makes for a beautiful scenic drive no matter where you are in Texas!

And thanks to Lady Bird Johnson, lush and ornate blossoms are abundant along the highways and byways of The Lone Star State!

Oh and one more thing…

Did you know bluebonnets are part of the pea family? 

But beware, they can be quite toxic to humans.

If you are interested my photography above as paintings and to see others I created:

Moore Ventura

Sugar Ridge Byway


Apricari Afternoon

Frente al día

Only In Texas


Along The Fence

Vista Mere

Donkey Daze

You may also use my CONTACT ME FORM for any other requests!

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Quote Of The Day:

“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block



Have you been to the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails?  

Please leave your comment!