Posts Tagged ‘Midwest’

Historic Route 66 Zephyr Gas Station, Villa Ridge, Missouri

August 12, 2011

Historic Route 66 Zephyr Gas Station, Villa Ridge, Missouri

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, or painted.  I spent a week visiting my family in St. Louis (my roots) and returned to this abandoned Zephyr station in Villa Ridge, Missouri, southwest of St. Louis on historic Route 66.  I created two plein air water color sketches of it last summer, and posted them on this blog then.  Now I am attempting one that is about 22 x 28″.  I’ve gotten more comfortable working larger, and would like to add another piece to my approaching One-Man Show at the Weiler House Gallery September 10.  I have plenty of time to finish this, though I return to school Monday.  We’ll see how much gets done during this quiet weekend.

Thanks for reading.

Winfield Antiqure Store Finished and Delivered to the Gallery

May 8, 2011

Winfield Antique Store, Highway 79, Missouri

This painting has just been delivered to the Weiler House Fine Arts Gallery for framing (http://www.weilerhousefineart.com/#home).

It got hot, painting in the garage this afternoon, but I’m glad this job is finished.  The painting has been posted so many times on this blog that I think it best not to repeat myself.  If you would like to know the story behind this setting, please check the other Winfield blogs over the past few weeks.  Thanks to all of you who checked in on this painting daily to help “see it through”!

Thanks for reading.

The Winfield Antique Store along Highway 79

May 8, 2011

Winfield , Missouri along Highway 79

I sincerely hope that this painting will be finished the next time I post it.  It’s had so many postings of its in-progress state that I fear I’m beginning to chase blog readers away.  Nothing new to say that I haven’t said before.  This is north of St. Louis on Highway 79 along the Mississippi River.  Winfield is a very small town, and unfortunately this classic antique store is closed.  I found it early on a summer morning, when the sun had just topped the ridge, lighting the facade with a magical rose glow.  I’ve tried to capture it three different times.  This is my first large painting of this subject (about 22 x 28″).

Thanks for reading.  Again, I hope to post it only once more, when signed and completed!

Still Trying to Finish the Winfield, Missouri Store

May 4, 2011

Winfield, Missouri store along Highway 79

Mercy, mercy me!  I cannot shake loose to find quality time to paint!  Just finished my last college lectures and am preparing to give finals, and high school has a way of accelerating in the final weeks.  I worked on this painting a little last night, this morning, and again this afternoon.  I am covered up with high school preparations for tomorrow’s classes, have fallen behind on grading, yet this painting is no longer whispering from the corner of the studio, but shouting, indeed shrieking for my attention.  And it’s all I want to look at now.  I suppose the only positive thing that I can say is–it appears Icould be finished with this by the weekend.  I would truly like to have it signed and delivered by then.  That is my goal.

The painting is large by my usual standards (about 22 x 28″), and I seem to get lost every time I get involved in rendering the shadows under the awning, or the depths of the interior seen through the windows, or even the wood grains on the carpentry that graces the front of this dying structure.  This morning, I began laying in the lines for brickwork along the left side of the composition, and believe me, I will get lost once I begin the brick rendering.  I love this part of a painting–when I know I am more than half-way to the finish.  That is when the quality of my breathing changes, my pulse slows, and I feel that I have entered another world.

O.K., back to the school work.  Maybe I’ll be privileged enough to return to this tonight.

Thank you for reading.

Stopping at the Desolate Winfield, Missouri Antique Store on a Summer Morning

April 30, 2011

Winfield, Missouri Antique Store in Progress

I am starting to repair some of the bad beginnings to this painting.  It started out as a poured watercolor, and much of the pouring of the foliage in the background got away from me.  Thanks to the brush, and some patience, the foliage is starting to look a little better.  I had also exerted considerable clumsiness in rendering this store facade in pencil.  Today, thanks to the eraser and a good triangle, I “re-plumbed” the structure and now it actually appears to be standing upright as it should.  Some of the faulty perspective lines of the siding have also been repaired.  The building looks more “correct” now.

I had the rare privilege of spending the good part of today in my studio.  The past week of school was vomitous, with state-mandated tests taking up all the mornings, and then entire “regular” day scheduled classes crushed into the afternoon hours–felt like 15-hour workdays and I came home every evening exhausted and disgusted.  Glad that is behind me now.  Today was a much better day.

Winfield, Missouri is a sleepy Mississippi River town on Highway 79 northwest of St. Louis.  I traveled this road frequently during my university years as the highway connected my home with my campus five hours away.  Two summers ago, while on vacation, I decided to follow this old river highway once more to see if there were any sites worth capturing in watercolor.  I passed this establishment just as the sun was coming up.  I have already painted it twice (smaller compositions that you can see on my website http://www.recollections54.com) but now have decided to go for some size and detail.

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.

Memory Lane: Trautwein’s Red Goose Shoes on Gravois, St. Louis, Missouri

March 29, 2011

Trautweins Red Goose Shoes, 5227 Gravois, St. Louis

After two consecutive mornings of rising at 4:30 in order to devote one hour to watercoloring, I’m finally getting some projects finished, though my eyes are burning intolerably right now.  Today I finished my diptych of the 8 x 10″ Eureka Springs paintings.  After school, I returned to the above piece and believe it is now finished.

As a child, I was inundated with Red Goose Shoes commercials, though I never bought a pair.  This sign on 5227 Gravois, southwest of downtown St. Louis, I recall seeing time and time again.  Last Christmas, while visiting St. Louis, I poked around the remnants of Route 66 that wound in strange fashion through the city of St. Louis, and fortunately had bright sunlight and plenty of snow to provide a great shot of the defunct storefront. As I took my photos, I felt that warm “Proustian” remembrance of special things past.

Throughout my elementary school years, I raced home daily after school so I could watch The Three Stooges, The Little Rascals, and other assorted programs  my parents deemed “inappropriate.”  Nevertheless, they were aired on local children’s programming, such as Captain 11 Showboat.  As I watched daily, lucky children sitting in the “peanut gallery” (I believe that designation actually came from Howdy Doody) would win a box of shoes from Red Goose Shoes, along with the Golden Egg filled with prizes.

As stated in an earlier blog, I’m delighted to find a Red Goose Shoes vintage sign in Sundance Square, downtown Fort Worth, about twenty minutes from where I live.  My intention is to capture that in watercolor soon.

Thank you for reading.

A Shout Out to the little town of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois!

March 10, 2011

Turvey's Corner

I am posting a watercolor that I completed in 1999, the first completed watercolor from my intensified quest to become a “professional” watercolorist, rather than a novice or Sunday Painter type.  The actual setting is a composite of three places I had visited throughout my life.  The Switzer building I always knew from downtown St. Louis, near where I grew up (sadly that building/landmark  has since been torn down).  The buildings on the left margin came from New Bern, North Carolina, a town I visited only one time in the mid-1990’s, and actually used the interior of a coffee shop there (the Trent River Coffee Company) to compose a mural at Arlington Martin High School (that mural can be viewed under the “Murals” tab of my website http://www.recollections54.com).

The building on the right, with the Budweiser and Busch ghost signs, I only knew as coming from a town in Illinois.  I scoured a number of those towns very early in the 1990’s with my father, but did not take good notes in my journal.  Since 1999, I have been unable to tell people specifically where I found that striking building to anchor the right side of this composition.

All of that changed at Open House last Monday night.  Parents of one of my A. P. Art History students were visiting with me, and as we shared our backgrounds, it was established that the father had grown up in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, near  Fort de Chartes.  I recognized those names immediately as two of the places I had scouted with my father during that summer excursion in the early ’90s.  I told this gentleman about my painting titled “Turvey’s Corner,”  explaining that one of the buildings came from a small Illinois town in his general area.  Today I received the surprise email from him, informing me that he had looked up my painting on the website and immediately recognized this “phantom” building as Lisa’s Market Street Grille in downtown Prairie du Rocher!

How thrilling to meet someone who connected with one of these small towns far, far away that connected with me in my travels!  Having an identity now for that building means everything to me, as I now can tell people more about the painting and what generated the idea for it.  I am adding the Facebook link to Lisa’s Market Street Grille, encouraging any of you interested to check out this business.  I was a patron there when I took my photographs of the establishment with my 35mm camera long ago, and still have fond memories of the place.  How happy I am to re-discover the business, and I cannot wait to return some day.   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisas-Market-Street-Grille/274360247861

Thank you, Mike and Karen, for providing this information for me.

And thanks to all of you for reading.

 

Kerouac Jazz Moods for Late Night

March 8, 2011

jazz at the bistro

Trying to unwind and get to sleep.  Earlier today I posted the Red Goose Shoes sign from a low angle, reflected in a store front window, and just now recalled this low-angle Jazz sign I painted last year with a reflection off the window.  This marks the first time I ever tried to paint a window reflection.

This original watercolor, unfortunately, was either lost or stolen last summer.  The organization that had possession of it made good and paid me the listed price of the painting, and fortunately I had images of it to make limited edition giclee prints.  But it always sickens me to have an original piece come up missing like this.

It’s very likely that I could finish the Red Goose Shoes painting tomorrow.  I’m ready to move on to another composition.  Red Goose gave me headaches, with all the detail called forth.  I’m ready for something looser and more atmospheric.  We’ll see what transpires.

Thanks for reading.

So Much Depends Upon a Red Goose–Tribute to William Carlos Williams

March 8, 2011

Trautwein's Red Goose Shoes, St. Louis

I’m working in my garage/studio after school on a Tuesday afternoon.  Texas storms are brewing, but right now, the light is good and the breezes are pleasant.  My Voices and Visions documentary video of William Carlos Williams is playing as I post this, and has been playing over the past hour as I’ve painted on this piece.  Williams was a pediatrician, and his son was a podiatrist.  Hence I got this notion to paint this Red Goose Shoes sign, reminiscing with a grin about a WCW poem that I suppose will never erase from my consciousness:

so much depends

upon

a red wheel

barrow

glazed with rain

water

beside the white

chickens.

Every time I see something that is strikingly red and fading in time, this poem comes to the surface of my consciousness.  Hence the Red Goose Shoes sign.  There is one languishing in downtown Fort Worth near where I live.  Soon I’ll probably go and try to paint that one as well.

This is the defunct Trautwein’s Shoes at 5227 Gravois in Southwest St. Louis.  Last Christmas, as my wife and I poked around historic route 66 that threaded through St. Louis (I recently finished the Spencer’s Grill painting and posted it on this blog), I was struck by this vintage sign, shining brightly in the winter sun, and took a number of photos from several angles.  I have found some sensitive blogged comments about this store and would like to post the link for you if you’re interested in learning the background of this sad store:  http://www.beltstl.com/2005/07/independent-shoes/

So, as I listen to the lifestyle of William Carlos Williams, who always gathered ideas for visual poems as he traveled about his small town, I too wish to make a contribution remembering the sights I encounter as I make my daily rounds.

Thanks for reading.