The only other time my paintings set the atmosphere for my writing was in my last published book. I did In the Crucible of the Sun for private distribution…One night old Bob Kleberg and I were talking down at the ranch and Bob had just come back from a flying trip down to Australia. He wanted me to do a book to show what he was doing out there, and he followed through. He did everything that I asked for. And I had a lot of fun because old Bob said, "Do it any way you want to." I said, "Well, I want to try to do a book where the painting is an imbedded part of the writing so that it's all together in one thing. And I think I need color for Australia." He said, "I think you ought to see Australia. And I think you ought to see what we're doing down there." And I said, "Well, I'd sure like to." Well, we saw it! Gosh, he came by for Sarah and me in his airplane and we flew in it right to Sydney. …And we went clear around the outback and into the heart of it and just had a wonderful sort of a picnic [for] six or seven weeks. We had enough time to really get some idea about the country and to see it with this guy who was enthusiastic, just as enthusiastic as Captain King was about finding this place where there was grass [ South Texas], you know.


Tom Lea talking to Adair Margo in Tom Lea, An Oral History, El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1995, p. 125.