Red Goose Shoes and Memories of Neighborhoods Past

Red Goose Shoes at Trautwein's

This winter evening in my garage/studio is beyond belief.  I’m bent over this painting I’ve begun of an abandoned shoe store in southwest St. Louis, near where I grew up.  I photographed the store and derelict sign during the Christmas holidays on a cold snowy afternoon while I was cruising historic Route 66 and Gravois Road.  There is plenty of information on this Trautwein’s store’s history on the Internet, and in subsequent postings, I will recover the blogs I read a couple of months ago, prompting me to attempt this painting.

What I’ve found enchanting this evening, is listening to a documentary on William Carlos Williams while I paint.  WCW was a poet and pediatrician in Rutherford, New Jersey, who made his rounds about the small town in the early decades of the twentieth century.  He was a pioneer of Imagism, as his active eye recorded the events of his daily odysseys and he actively scribbled rough drafts of poems of these on his prescription pads.  Coming home late at night, he would push these scraps of paper around on the table top, and revise them into the poems we now love.

As I’ve worked late this afternoon and into the darkening evening, my ear has filled with the sounds of this WCW documentary, mingled with the live sounds of my suburban neighborhood–stock car races roaring in neighboring Kennedale, children on bicycles up and down the street beside my house, suburbanites walking their dogs and chatting with acquaintances,  a table saw shrieking in someone else’s garage (man-cave) nearby.  The sight must be peculiar if anyone looks up in my direction–an open garage and a guy sitting at a drafting table working on a watercolor, watching a portable TV and blogging on a laptop.  No power tools to be seen in this cave!  I have absolutely soaked every sensation of this day from my garage, Proust-like, enjoying today and remembering yesterday.

I hate that I have to return to school early in the morning, and see it through all the way to Open House tomorrow night.  This painting, after tonight, will probably lay dormant for about 48 hours.  But hopefully, the image will compost in my mind’s eye, and develop in a way that I’ll know what to do when I finally return to it.  I’m glad Spring Break is only a week away.  Perhaps I’ll get more “real” work done then.  I had hoped that this weekend could feature 2 1/2 days in the studio, but that was not to be.  A family emergency, plus too-many-errands, managed to cut up my quality painting time into very small segments.  Though I painted three times today, none of those “sessions” lasted longer than 45 minutes before something else “came up” that had to be tended.  But, that’s how we live.  I have no complaints, really.

Thanks for reading.  I hope your day has been as good as mine.

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4 Responses to “Red Goose Shoes and Memories of Neighborhoods Past”

  1. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    You have a wonderful start. I like the cintrasts in value. Powerful and make the Red Goose pop.


  2. davidtripp Says:

    Thank you. I surprised myself and got to spend about another hour on it this afternoon, but never got the chance to photograph and blog it (had to go to Open House). I’m really tightening up on it, which I’m not sure is such a good thing. I’ve been trying to loosen up, and it certainly isn’t happening with this subject. Maybe the next painting . . .


  3. Says:

    interestingly enough, dave (or not) . . . i just happen to own an artifact from one of the original red goose shoe stores – when the merchant of those stores sold a box of shoes, they would (as the story has been told to me) pull twine from a metal, hollowed out facsimile of a goose sitting on the floor – the ball of the twine would be placed in the belly of the goose and the lead would be pulled from the goose mouth in just the right amount to tie the lid to the box for the customer to carry home – put that one in your book!

    looking forward to painting with you on wednesday of spring break . . . thursday, too?!?!?


    • davidtripp Says:

      Funny story! I never shopped Red Goose, but remember the TV commercials as a child–in St. Louis they offered a golden egg filled with prizes with each purchase of Red Goose shoes. Wednesday I’ll be available for sure. Might be heading to Eureka Springs early Thursday.


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