Finished Route 66 Relic, August 16, 2010

Villa Ridge, Missouri abandoned Zephyr gas station bill board

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.

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2 Responses to “Finished Route 66 Relic, August 16, 2010”

  1. John dejack Says:

    My great uncle who owned that station I think would have liked your painting alot he passed away a couple of weeks ago at the age of 85 ,I feel like you captured an era in time that is fading fast ,he worked an ran that station for years an was well liked in Villa Ridge always was willing to help out anybody broke down even if they didn’t have the money to pay him they don’t make people like my uncle John anymore either so like the station he to has faded away just not forgotten!


    • davidtripp Says:

      John, thanks so much for your response. It made my morning. I’m truly sorry I did not meet your great uncle. I wish I could have had a conversation with him about those days. I sincerely want to know everything one is willing to share about these important pasts. My earliest childhood memories of my father are those of him working in a service station in downtown St. Louis. I still remember the pink shop rag hanging out of his back pocket as he hustled around parked cars, worked under hoods, and rolled on a “creeper” underneath. I miss the sound of the bell cables we drove over, announcing our arrivals in those days of full-service stations. I miss the sight of men wiping down our windshields as we awaited our gas tanks to fill.

      My website is Feel free to contact me anytime if you have information about your area and “relics” left behind for one like me to paint. I will return to St. Louis over Christmas holidays to visit my parents and siblings. Thanks again.



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