In Memoriam Route 66 Villa Ridge, Missouri

In Memoriam Route 66 Villa Ridge, Missouri

I finished this watercolor about 2:00 a.m. this morning.  It’s a relief to have it finished, knowing it only took five days.  As I look on the finished composition, I still feel the sadness of a civilization that has died.  I’m old enough to recall Highway 66 road trips when I was a child, and I cannot help but listen for the ringing of bell cables every time I see the husk of a service station such as this one, languishing on vacant property adjacent to a county road or service road that was formerly an artery carrying traffic across this nation.

As a teacher, I’ve returned to my campus this week to honor my contract.  The students will appear next Monday.  Whether or not I begin a composition before then, I just don’t know at this point.  I have my first One Man Show beginning on September 10.  A part of me wishes to continue painting up till the day that we open, but another part says I already have enough work ready to hang, and that a hiatus might be the healthy road to take right now.  Maybe I’ll decide by tomorrow!

Thanks again for reading, and helping me see this one through.

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8 Responses to “In Memoriam Route 66 Villa Ridge, Missouri”

  1. lesliepaints Says:

    Excellent, David. Happy first week back to school! Have a great show!


  2. davidtripp Says:

    Thank you, Leslie. I’m glad the show is nearly here. I’ve been nervous, but have been told that I have enough work and don’t have to create anymore by show time. School has me buried dawn to dusk. It’s been extremely hard getting up the initiative to paint.


  3. Shirley Joiner Says:

    David, my uncle had a country gas station/country store in east Texas in the 1950s-1960s. No one ever took a photograph of the store and it was moved many years ago. I talked to his daughter and asked her enough questions to make a fairly accurate painting of what we think it looked like. Your beautiful, evocative painting brought back those memories of joyful past times. I share your sense of loss and remembrance.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Shirley. I would love to see that painting, if you wouldn’t mind showing it. Sorry you didn’t get a photograph. There are many places from my childhood that I’m so sorry now not to have photographed. A few years ago, I returned to a Highway 61 truckstop in southeast Missouri where we always stopped for dinner en route to visit our grandparents. All that was left was a concrete slab. I was so hurt not to have any photos of the “Owl Shanty”. What a loss!


  4. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    Hope you are enjoying a few rejuvenation days. We all need a break occasionally. (I seem to take several a year!) This painting is really wonderful. The reflections in the water show the high level of talent you possess. Good luck with your show. How do you store large paintings that are not framed but are “in waiting”?


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for the well-wishes, Linda. I really got slammed with the first week of school last week. Today wiped me out so much I headed straight for the gym after school. I need to find a way to restore all the energy that school siphons off daily.

      I don’t have a very good system of storing paintings. I have a leather portfolio large enough to secure a full-size watercolor sheet, and sometimes use it. Right now, the Route 66 unframed watercolor is on an easel in the living room. I read that Andrew Wyeth kept his recent works about the house on view so that he could see them “out of the corner of his eye” for weeks and months, and hence evaluate them. That’s what I do as well. Right now, I’m not as satisfied with this painting as I have been with other recent ones. I think it is because the painting’s overall composition is lighter and lacks the contrast that I have always desired. I was hoping that the light values would render it more “atmospheric,” but that’s not really happening for me when I view it casually.

      Thanks again for all your encouragement. I really do want to start another painting, and keep trying to, but business matters with the show keep popping up and I keep tending them instead.


  5. Gary Frame Says:

    I have just read with interest your description of the Zephyr station in Villa Ridge. I have a postcard from “Coon’s Zephyr Cafe” in Villa Ridge from 1953 and was looking for info on it when I ran across your blog. I am wondering whether the station you painted and the Zephyr Cafe could be the same place. I understand that one of your sources said it was “Cooksy’s” rather than “Coon’s”, but you have to wonder how many Zephyr stations there could have been in Villa Ridge. Unfortunately, the photo on the front of the card shows a man fishing but not a photo of the Cafe, nor does the card provide any other info at all.

    At any rate, I enjoyed your description of the site and the progression of your painting. Best Wishes!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thanks so much, Gary, for “stopping by” and for the comments. I got my information about “Cooksy’s” from a local woman living behind that establishment. Her stories went way back, and I wish I could have stayed several days, she was such a wealth of information. I would love to know more about that Villa Ridge area and what it held in the forties and fifties. Thanks again.


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