This watercolor was begun on site several weeks back. It is part of what remains of the old Cooksy Station on historic Route 66 southwest of St. Louis. This billboard adjoins the property of an abandoned Zephyr gas station on Route AT at Villa Ridge, near Interstate 44. I found it with considerable difficulty (a state trooper pulled me over for an illegal turn in St. Clair, and I explained what I was seeking–he gave me a warning, and directions!). I took several pictures of this billboard, and then painted the remains of the gas station as the early evening light was fading. Later, I arose at sunrise (staying with my parents in High Ridge, 40 minutes away) and drove to this site and painted it in the morning light, until a heavy thunderstorm darkened the skies and chased me off the site. Thanks to photographs, I was able to return to the composition on numerous occasions.
Yesterday, in Lubbock, Texas, I was finishing up a number of watercolors begun during my St. Louis travels of a few weeks ago, and a more recent Colorado vacation. With this particular composition, I needed to deepen the dark shadows above, behind, and within the foliage covering the billboard. The weedy bottom portions also needed some additional tweaking. I’ve decided now that it is finished.
Thanks for reading.