Posts Tagged ‘Zephyr’

In Memoriam Route 66 Villa Ridge, Missouri

August 17, 2011

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.

Defunct Route 66 Gas Station after a Hard Rain

August 14, 2011

Abandoned Route 66 Zephyr Station after the Rain

The painting is slowing down, now that I’m nearing the end of my third day.  Painting water reflections is completely new territory for me, and I spend more time studying the reference photos, applying masquing fluid to the paper and mixing pigments than actual painting.  But I am enjoying the process, and today is the first time I’ve felt “lost” in the painting, in a good sense.  School begins tomorrow for me, but I’ll continue with the painting daily until it’s finished, hopefully before this next week runs its course.   Tonight before retiring to bed, I hope to enrich further the shadows in the water reflections and attempt to render the grasses sticking up out of this enormous parking lot swamp.  For any of you reading this for the first time, the location of this station is Villa Ridge, Missouri, on Route 66 southwest of St. Louis.  Currently the station is at county road AT, about a mile off Interstate 44.   I saw it for the first time in the summer of 2010 and did two plein air watercolor sketches, one of the end of this building, and the other of a rusted-out, foliage-covered billboard advertising Zephyr detergent gasoline.

Thanks for reading.

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.