Posts Tagged ‘general store’

We Have Everything You Need at the General Store

October 24, 2011

Crockett General Store

Henry David Thoreau withdrew to Walden Pond.  David Hume convalesced at a cottage near La Fleche College.  This past weekend, I had the exquisite privilege of retreating to rural Crockett, Texas.  Two lovely new friends granted me access to this remote, remade “country store.”  The signs are real–no replicas will be found inside or outside this rustic structure.  Stepping inside will take you back to the 1950’s rural general store.  Even the front screen door slaps shut with a sharp sound if you release it.  Inside I gazed forever at all the products lining the shelves that I recalled from childhood.  The only element missing was a cluster of farmers sitting on rockers, whittling long sticks with their pocket knives and swapping stories and local news items.

I set up an easel outside on my second day in the country, right after a sweet, cleansing rain.  I enjoyed the cool moist winds and the smells of the neighboring pastureland, and listened to conversations emanating from within the store while I worked at this plein air watercolor.

Today I’m back at school.  Progress grades are due online by midnight tonight.  The class schedule was that dreaded four-class day in four different classrooms on two floors.  Already I’m tired, despite a restful weekend.  But the day’s drudgery has not been able to push out of my memory the sound of that screen door slapping shut on the front of this rustic store.  Memories like this past weekend help me cope with the kind of days faced this year with this dreadful school schedule.  It is most enriching to pause, close one’s eyes, and remember warm scenes from the past that are worth “calling up.”  William Wordsworth has enriched us with his “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey.”  I often wish (hope) I could do the same visually for anyone who wishes to remember the “country store” from yesterday.

Thanks for reading.

A Summer Morning in Sleepy Winfield, Missouri

April 27, 2011

Winfield, Missouri Store

I have put in two consecutive late nights in the garage studio, painting till past midnight.  It makes it a little rough, going to school the next morning, but there it is.  This is another full-size sheet of watercolor paper (22 x 28″).  I have painted this abandoned store twice before.  I discovered it in the summer of 2009 while driving highway 79 north of St. Louis along the Mississippi River.  The small town of Winfield is where this store rests, just along the west side of highway 79.  The light was so bright that August morning, the sun had just risen.

I’m having some struggles with this painting (I hate it when a watercolor starts out badly!).  I poured quite a few layers of pigment on the tree/foliage area at the top, wanting to get the woods very dark and deep.  I’ve decided to just let the foliage be for the time being, and go ahead and work on the store facade.  Tonight involved plenty of close, tedious drawing and drafting, but I’m still convinced that a strong and accurate drawing will yield a good watercolor (hope I’m right this time!).  I’m not sure that the pencil work can be seen in this photograph, I always have trouble getting a good digital image under light bulbs late at night.  Most of my blog shots are taken out in the driveway in the middle of the day.  I guess I’m admitting that as a photographer, I fly by the seat of my pants.

At any rate, I am finally settling into, and enjoying this watercolor composition.  And with the kind of school schedule I have this week, I reckon that I’ll be having to put in late hours in the garage studio (my least favorite time to paint).  I’ll take what’s offered.

Thanks for reading.