Villa Ridge Zephyr sign, Route 66
Today, Tuesday July 20, I managed to return to the property of this abandoned Zephyr Station that I sketched last Friday evening. This time, I focused on the rusted-out, overgrown Zephyr sign on the left border of the service station property. Since my last painting Friday night, I received email from Christine (the lady who assisted me on my first visit to the property). Christine informs me that this is the “Old Cooksy Gas Station.” Moreover, she has since learned that the old Route 66 behind the station (covered by grass now, but leaving a noticeable rise in the roadbed), was once known as the “Old Post Road,” because the Post Office was located on it. Once the region took on the name of Franklin County, the highways were given their numbers, and this became Route 66.
The weather was perfect for painting, for awhile. I arrived at 7:02 a.m., the temperature was 71 degrees, and a gentle breeze was blowing, though the gathering clouds had darkened considerably. After ninety minutes of drafting, masquing and laying in the basic washes, the watercolor became too wet and soupy for any additional work, and because of the dampness in the air, it was not drying. I decided I could photograph the sign, return to High Ridge and resume work on it indoors, using the laptop for the image. Thirty seconds after I had everything loaded in the Jeep, the heavens opened, and the deluge began. I drove home for nearly an hour, taking county roads, and the rain never let up. My timing was just right.
I’ve worked a little more on this indoors now, and have decided to leave it for a spell, and decide where to work next on it. The masquing has done its work, and now I need to make decisions on just how to render the highlighted leaves. The sign is coming along quite well too, but I still need to do some fine detailing and lettering on it. I’m happy with it so far, and really grateful for two opportunities now to capture some images and memories from route 66. Incidentally, I grew up about 20 minutes from this highway, and witnessed its painful transition from Highway 66 to Interstate 44. The old Cooksy Station is about 35 minutes from where I grew up, and where my parents still reside, in High Ridge.
Thanks for reading.