Posts Tagged ‘Highway 66’

Nostalgic New Mexico Road House Watercolor

May 15, 2011

New Mexico Road House

The Weiler House just framed this watercolor for me, in preparation for the One-Man Show this fall.  See http://www.weilerhousefineart.com for the gallery’s website.  I saw this abandoned road house several years ago while traveling New Mexico during the late summer.  I painted it once before, putting railroad tracks in the foreground.  This time I thought I would let the “Mother Road” roll past the front.  I seem to recall that this collection of buildings was near historic route 66.

Thanks for reading.

Christmas at the Diner on U. S. Route 66, Missouri

February 3, 2011

Christmas at the Diner on U. S. Route 66, Missouri

Tomorrow will mark our fourth consecutive day of school closures.  I’m still tinkering with this late into the night, reminiscing about late-night diners, coffee and conversations that remain with me.  Hopefully I can keep my momentum going right into tomorrow and the weekend.  This painting is growing on me.

Thank you for reading.

Nostalgic Christmas Dining on Route 66 at the Spencer’s Grill

February 3, 2011

Nostalgic Christmas Dining on Route 66 at the Spencer's Grill

This one is going to be fun!  Spencer’s Grill, along historic route 66 in Kirkwood, Missouri, was a visual landmark for me, even before I was old enough to read.  This 1947 diner, with its 1948 sign, was featured on a billboard in Fenton, Missouri, adjacent to the Meramec River bridge on Highway 30.  As a small child, I admired the maroon-and-gold signage complete with vintage clock.  Once I was old enough to enter the diner on my own, I discovered a scene reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s painting “Night Hawks,” complete with stainless steel kitchen and the aromas of old-fashioned cooking.  Every summer and Christmas, when I re-visit St. Louis, I stop into the Spencer’s Grill, usually for breakfast which includes scrapple, of all things!

I began this work last month, then stalled as I continued work on a couple of other large watercolor compositions, and of course, the constant juggling of high school and college teaching schedules.  Yesterday I discovered water damage in the midst of the painting (sloppy me–always leaving a damp towel on my work).  I have just about restored all the “bleeding” areas that weren’t supposed to be there, and I pledge to be more careful now as this thing slowly takes shape.  I still have plenty of pencil work to do, as I’ve decided now to extend the composition to the bottom and to the right.  And of course, there is still plenty of signage to detail, traffic to block in, and shadows to lay down.  But I am finding real joy in this.

Texas has canceled school three days in a row, an extremely rare feat–in fact I don’t recall three consecutive cancellation days in my near-25 years of teaching.  At any rate, it has allowed me to focus more on my painting, and for that I am grateful.

Thank you for reading.  I’ll try to be more faithful with daily blogging . . .  Wish me luck on this one!

Finishing the Route 66 Billboard, July 28, 2010

July 28, 2010

Zephyr Billboard Historic Route 66, Villa Ridge, Missouri

I’m nearly finished with this one.  I’ll be leaving for Colorado next week for some more plein air painting (and fly fishing!), and I need to finish up the partial paintings on all my watercolor blocks.  I have several in progress, and the blocks are all tied up until I can tear the paintings off.  A good predicament, I suppose.

I took a number of photographs around Villa Ridge, Missouri while visiting there last week.  Soon, I hope to get into a series of Route 66 nostalgia pieces.

Thank you for reading.

Return to Route 66, July 20, 2010

July 20, 2010

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.

Route 66 Zephyr Station, July 18, 2010

July 18, 2010

Route 66 Zephyr Station

On Friday morning, July 16, I left Arlington, Texas at 6:00 a.m. and began my drive to St. Louis to visit Mom & Dad.  I stopped frequently along the way to stretch my legs and stay awake.  My plan was to get out of my Jeep and paint some kind of historic Route 66 landmark once I neared St. Louis about ten hours later.  I exited Interstate 44 late that afternoon St. Clair, and began looking for the town of Villa Ridge on Highway 100 which is part of the historic route 66.  Highway 100 is hopelessly cut up by the freeway and other county roads, and I seemed to drive circuitously about the region, pointed to all four points of the compass alternately, until I got pulled over by the Missouri Highway Patrol for an illegal turn.  Fortunately, the patrolman gave me a warning, and told me how to get to my landmark.

By the time I had found this abandoned Zephyr station, nearer to Washington than St. Clair, on Route AT, I had only about 30 minutes before the sun would vanish.  I worked quickly, and made the acquaintance of a lady who kept an Appaloosa horse in a 100-year-old barn behind this station in the dark wooded area.  She invited me to see the horse, photograph the barn, and pointed out the raised grassy portion on top of which I had parked my Jeep, which was lined with ancient pines on the north side.  She told me that that was the roadbed of the original route 66!

I’m in Kirksville, Missouri this morning, but will return to St. Louis this afternoon.  While visiting with my family, I plan to make some more excursions out to the historic 66 area.  I have already found a couple of hotels I would also like to paint.  Hopefully time and weather will cooperate.

Thanks for reading.

2nd Place, Watercolor, Desoto Art League, May 28, 2010

May 28, 2010

Route 66 Memories

Tonight I won 2nd place in the watercolor division of the Desoto Art League annual juried show.  This gas station I found in Claude, Texas.  The Studebaker was abandoned in New Mexico.  The genre of this piece reflects a theme I followed for about a decade–memories of places long since abandoned.

Re-Visiting My First Gallery Sale, January 19, 2010

January 19, 2010

Union, Missouri

This watercolor means a great deal to me.  It was the first work I ever sold through a gallery.  The buyer was returning to her native Germany, and told the gallery director that the house reminded her of farm homes in the “Old Country.”  I photographed the old house when I was returning to Texas from a visit with family in St. Louis.  As I stood on the property, assuming the place was abandoned, I heard a dog suddenly bark in the distance, then I heard a door slam, and immediately an old pickup truck emerged from behind the house.  Fearing I was about to be chased off the property, I left in a hurry.

This was one of my first serious attempts at Andrew Wyeth’s drybrush technique.  I still remember how painstaking I was, when I tried to render the wood grains on the old siding of the house.  The tall weeds were also filling me with anxiety as I attempted to render them.  The siding and the weeds were first attempts.