Sitting at a restaurant waiting for their food, Larry Williamson would draw a letter on a napkin and slide it to his granddaughter Emily Branson who anxiously waited to create something from what he had drawn. On the surface, the childhood activity passed the time, but inside of Branson it ignited a love for art, a gift she has used to paint a loving tribute to her grandfather and spotlight cotton production in Roby, Texas.
"We've always talked about needing a mural because it's this big blank wall at the four-way in town," said the 19-year-old. "Because Roby is such a farming community, I thought a cotton mural would be the best representation, something that shows off what Roby is all about."
Branson freehanded the cotton field mural on the brick wall of her parent's business, Williamson-Branson Real Estate, in downtown Roby.
"My grandad was an artist. He taught me everything I know," Branson said. "He's actually the one who said we needed to paint a mural. He would always say that, but he passed away in December (2019) and that's when we got serious about this."
Assisting Branson is her mother Deena Branson and her grandmother Marty Williamson. Deena says they are Emily's support staff, asserting that Emily's the real artist.
Deena credits those minutes at the dining table between Emily and her father for developing her daughter's artistic talent. "She's making the mural a tribute to him," she said as her voice cracked. "If he could be here, he would be telling us what we needed to do. He would love it and he would stop everyone and tell them about his granddaughter. He's always done that. And he would tell us what we needed to fix."
The mural is located at 108 E. South 1st Street. To watch Emily's video interview, click here.