The grant of a fellowship from the Rosenwald Foundation came to me that summer. There was very much I wanted to do as a painter – and the stipend from the fellowship offered me a year of freedom to work at it – about an earth and a sky as I saw them at El Paso del Norte, about a pastoral life of men and animals who lived on God's grass, about a thin green ribbon of life along the banks of a Rio Bravo in a dry, thorny, sun-struck, beloved land.
Yet there was no soul-searching whatsoever when, late that summer, almost fall, another telegram came with another query. Would I like to go to sea with the North Atlantic Patrol of the United States Navy and paint what I saw for Life magazine?
Tom Lea, A Picture Gallery, Boston: Little Brown and Company, p. 45 - 46.