Posts Tagged ‘vintage sign’

Morning Coffee with Thoreau

July 28, 2013
2nd Day on Coca-Cola Watercolor

2nd Day on Coca-Cola Watercolor

Of all strange and unaccountable things this journalizing is the strangest.  It will allow nothing to be predicated of it; its good is not good, nor its bad bad.  If I make a huge effort to expose my innermost and richest wares to light, my counter seems cluttered with the meanest homemade stuffs; but after months and years I may discover the wealth of India, and whatever rarity is brought overland from Cathay, in that confused heap, and what perhaps seemed a festoon of dried apple or pumpkin will prove a string of Brazilian diamonds, or pearls from Coromandel.

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, January 29, 1841

Though I stayed up late last night, I was awake  by 9:00 this morning.  After putting on coffee, I sat in the morning light reading from the Journal of Henry Thoreau.  I found this quote amusing as well as insightful.  I began my journal activity in 1986.  I haven’t counted the volumes recently, but know that they exceed 110 by now.  I’ve had some good years, some good entries, some insightful recordings.  And I have also produced pages of stuff worthy for kindling in the fireplace.  I suppose if I had never kept a journal, I would not have easy access to my thoughts over the past couple of decades, notes jotted down from books and magazines, original constructions that were used as skeletons for high school and univeristy lectures as well as public speeches and sermons.  And I probably would never have launched a blog had I not followed the journal instinct throughout my professional life.  The more I read Thoreau, the more convinced I am that he is a kindred spirit.  I’m so grateful to have been introduced to him.

As for day two of my watercolor, I worked through the morning, masquing, rendering more foliage, and detailing the twisted gate wires and a small portion of the Coca-Cola sign.  The painting is large–22 x 28″–and I am enjoying it challenges.  I cannot wait to take it up again after school tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel that I am alone.

I  blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

The Daily Endeavor

June 24, 2013
Second Day on the Vintage Coca-Cola Sign

Second Day on the Vintage Coca-Cola Sign

Have no mean hours, but be grateful for every hour, and accept what it brings.  The reality will make any sincere record respectable.  No day will have been wholly misspent, if one sincere, thoughtful page has been written.

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, July 6, 1840

I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry.  You have always written before and you will write now.  All you have to do is write one true sentence.  Write the truest sentence that you know.”

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

I keep returning to these words from Thoreau and Hemingway, wanting to sustain the energy for daily thought and visual art as they did for thought and the written word.  They believed in their ideas, their abilities, their daily craft.  And they pursued these with unflagging purpose.

I painted yesterday, though tired.  I painted again this evening, though tired.  I’m still recovering from the extensive travel and workshop activity, and jumping into the daily summer school fire (English IV) as I write this.  But weary as I feel tonight, I am delighted that I said Yes to painting these last two times.  And I’m very pleased with how this small 10 x 8″ watercolor sketch is progressing of my vintage Coca-Cola sign.  I’m chipping away at this sign, remembering those countless times as  a child that I saw signs such as this mounted on fence posts, general stores and billboards in southeast Missouri.  This sign is as genuine a relic of Americana as anything I have witnessed in these past decades.  I’m proud to own it, and so pleased to have this opportunity to sketch it, paint it, plot out future compositions with it.

I’ve added quite a bit since yesterday, mostly the distressed marks, rust and buckshot damage on the background of the sign, as well as the shadows running around the curved side.  I also extended the background on the left side, darkening some of the evergreen.  I have some masqued highlights in the evergreen that I’m anxious to remove, but I have soaked the composition, and it’s going to take awhile for it to dry sufficiently for me to remove the masquing.  I believe I’ll finish this one tomorrow after school, and put if up for sale, 10 x 8″ with a 14″ x 11″ white mat and plastic sleeve.  Asking price: $100.

Thanks for reading.  Talk to you tomorrow!

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Watercolor as a Relaxing Routine

June 23, 2013
36" Antique Coca-Cola Sign

36″ Antique Coca-Cola Sign

Routine is a ground to stand on, a wall to retreat to; we cannot draw on our boots without bracing ourselves against it.  It is the fence over which neighbors lean when they talk.  . . . Our health requires that we should recline on it from time to time.  When we are in it, the hand stands still on the face of the clock, and we grow like corn in the genial dankness and silence of the night.  

Henry David Thoreau, Journal.  January 23, 1841

When I drove away from the Eureka Springs School of the Arts last Friday, I felt so much good will from a class that performed above and beyond expectations.  I also felt satisfied in completing several demonstration watercolor sketches.  I thought that I would be O.K. with extended road time and the possibility of not picking up the watercolor brush for days.  But as Sunday dawned, I already felt a sense of listlessness with the broken routine, and decided to get back into something.  I acquired this magnificent 36″ antique Coca-Cola sign a few weeks back, just before I hit the road to do back-to-back workshops.  I never forgot about the sign, and thought it seemed silly to transport it in the back of my Jeep with all the rest of my watercolor gear and suitcase.  But the sign has been on my mind, and I thought that today I would try a few rough sketches of it.  I pulled out my “Fluid” watercolor block, hoping that that would signal a loose sketch and not a finished painting.  What is wrong with me?  Why can I not just cut loose?  Oh, I worked fast on this indeed, but, as you can see, it’s not loose.  It’s just as tight as though I were working on a full sheet of 300-lb. watercolor paper.  It is only 10 x 8″ but I worked as tightly and accurately as I could, though I worked fast indeed.  This is what I accomplished over the course of a few hours today, and I loved every minute, every second of the experience.

The sign has some corrosion, and plenty of abuse from a shotgun blast that I still haven’t really put into the composition yet.  And I’m still trying to solve the problem of an evergreen backdrop, spending plenty of time perusing Andrew Wyeth drybrush studies of evergreens.  I am so glad to have this sign in my actual presence, rather than trying to work from a photograph.  The relic is magnificent to behold.

Thanks for reading.  It’s nice to be back into the watercolor routine after only a two-day hiatus.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel that I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.