A Proust Moment, January 20, 2010

Abandoned gas station near Callisburg, Texas

I believe this watercolor was my first (of many, many attempts) time to combine several different photo images into one composition.  The building is outside of Callisburg, Texas, and I drove past it numerous times in the mid-1980’s when I was pastoring a country church in that vicinity.  The building was completely stripped of signage, so I added various signs of Mobilgas, cafe, and motor oil and feed store logos.  The truck I took from a photo that an art student gave me years earlier.  I tried to dock the truck under the awning like it belonged there.  It was interesting trying to put a truck in a location such as this and make it look right.  The drybrush technique of course was my attempt to try the Andrew Wyeth “look.”

I’m fascinated with Marcel Proust’s work and how he writes of those primal memories that are stirred within us by a certain touch, smell, taste, or visual stimulus.  When I see abandoned filling stations such as this, I still hear the cables ringing when the wheels of vehicles pass over them.  I hear the gas pumps ringing as the numbers spin, telling the dollars owed and gallons dispensed.  I smell the oil and grease, the tires, the grime–all of it.  And I can’t drive past a vintage gas station without looking long and hard, and more often than not–pulling over to take a picture or grab a quick sketch.

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3 Responses to “A Proust Moment, January 20, 2010”

  1. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    Your words and painting make my nose tingle with the smells of the thick black grease and oily rags in a station like this. Shades of my childhood! You were very successful when you painted this.

    Like

  2. lesliepaints Says:

    This is an awesome example of combining several photo references. We address this in composition classes. Unless you had told me this was composed of several references, I would not have known.

    Like

  3. artbythepaintedbrush Says:

    Beautifully composed and put together, it really has the atmosphere in it.

    Like

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