Category Archives: road trip

the Peachoid / I 85 at Gaffney South Carolina

Peachoid-gaffney

not my photo.

It’s a water tower. Interesting info that was new to me has recently been disclosed by my daughter.

I’m planning an art project which will be a pastel still life featuring representations of celestial bodies and I was talking to her about how to represent the moon.

I drove past this a lot of times on my way to Atlanta, GA. and never realized, people call it the Moon over Gaffney. It’s funny. Millenials  love to use emojis  and the peach emoji represents a butt. A butt represents the moon. So people driving past the giant peach thought of a giant butt. It has been repainted.

One time I took Amtrak to Texas when my sister lived there and as the train was speeding through Georgia and I was staring out the window, I saw a bunch of bare butts on the hill next to the tracks. Some kids were “mooning” the train. I’ll never forget it. I was traveling alone and sitting there cracking up. I stood up to see if anyone else in my train car saw the kids mooning the train but no one else was laughing, so maybe they didn’t see the moons. We passed it so fast.

The giant peach goes to show how public art can mean different things to different people. I decided to draw a peach in my still life. Not every one will get the connection.

This project might take some time. It’s too hot outside for me to enjoy drawing in plein air. I’m only now in the planning stage of my next art project, and I like taking my sweet time doing art, which is not the modern way of doing art. The modern way is to make it look spontaneous. I refuse to conform to that nonsensical attitude. I’ll show my progress on the still life as soon as I get something down on paper. Meanwhile, here’s an inspiration, the giant peach / moon.

the Cow is OK / pastel

IMG_2554

Dang, This is hard to see. My lap top is acting all crazy, still working but the flashing horizontal lines are on it. I think dirt got between the display and the keyboard. It might go away. It did before.

This is another old favorite that did not get stolen. The skull is a souvenir from my 1st solo adventure driving across country in 2002. I drove rt.66 from Springfield MO. to Santa Monica. At Flag Staff I took a detour to go to the Grand Canyon for one night. I bought a bag of carrots in Flagstaff because I was hoping to get on the mule ride but they were all booked up so I went back to 66 and headed West. In Arizona I was looking for wild burros but didn’t see any until I got to Kingman. The burros were all there and smelled the carrots in my car. They had their snotty faces all over my car before I could park it. I barely got out of the car and they mobbed me for the carrots. It was a scream! Then I shopped and bought this skull. It rode on my backseat the rest of the trip because it was too big to fit in the trunk.

When I got home I drew the skull about 6 times in different combinations of pastel colors.

Then I saw a funny article in the weird news section of a magazine I was reading. The story goes like this:

In Fla. there was a flood and a cow was just standing there in the water. Drivers were slowing down to look at the cow and it caused a traffic jam. So many people were calling 911 to rescue the cow that they contacted the farmer who told them the cow is ok. Then DOT took a big sign out there and put it by the side of the road saying, “The cow is ok”. Then the cow moved on and the sign was still there causing a traffic jam because people were looking for the cow.

My daughter, Sarah and I got on a laughing jag over the story. She insisted I call my skull drawings the cow is ok.

Now I’m having a little problem with my computer. I think it might fix itself because it did before. If I miss something don’t worry about me. I’m in a hotel with a good view. I’d like to ride out the crazy right here. I don’t know.

 

existential meme / stolen from cyanide and happiness

IMG_0721

I’m going out for a long drive today and tomorrow. My daughter’s going along with me to bring my Mom to VA from PA. Then she’s taking Mom home after  xmas and I’m staying home. I did that drive alone for so many years then stopped a few years ago. Now Sarah wants to make the drive and asked me if I want to go along this year, so I’ll drive the first half of it. Traffic will be heavy. Weather ok.

Enjoy your holidays, friends! ttyl

Desert, dreaming

IMG_2383

I woke up from a dream of the desert. It felt like my subconscious came to some profound understanding about the places of strange beauty and the places of strange mystery.

This photo came from a tour book of sites for the plein air artists.

I don’t know if I can express it in words, but I’ll try.

The time I spent at the Ghost Ranch and the time I spent on the road must have had an effect on me. I was glad I took the time to sit there and stare at it.  One thing about the plein air week was that the artists are expected to make lasting friendships and go to another plein air event to feel part of the plein air family, but I didn’t do that, alas. The group was rushing around to as many beautiful places and whipping out as many oil or watercolor sketches as they could every day and I, with my weak social skills and slow way of working, still kept to myself too much. I didn’t want to try to go fast with it like they did. I wanted to sit there in the beautiful spots and commune with nature every day as I worked on my painting.

How can an artist get the most out of it if they hurry through it? How can they pick up the vibe of the desert if they’re socializing with so many people?  Can they see the mystery in the empty spaces if they fly over it?  When I woke up I felt like out of all the 100 or so artists at the event, I was definitely the slowest, but something else. I have my doubts that any of the others felt it like  I did. Could I ever give up painting the way I do so that I could fit in better socially? Should I change my style? Should I do unfinished paintings that are sketchy and have no depth or detail? No. I remember it well, at least for now. It’s not a fast food hamburger, it’s a piece of prime rib to be savored. Do you know what I mean?

photos from the Ghost Ranch / trip debriefing

IMG_2381

The last few days of my drive were less exciting because of the trees on both sides of the road blocking the view.

I saw cops and robbers on my way back east and they all let me alone. I got tired of driving one night and took an exit only to find myself at a real dive of a motel, but didn’t want to get back on the road. I was lucky the whole trip with not getting bit by either dangerous animals or bugs, and not getting robbed by those scary guys staying at the same motel.

If you are afraid, a road trip isn’t for you, but if you need some excitement in your life it can be rewarding.IMG_2380

If it wasn’t for trucks there would be no traffic on rte. 40. The truckers let me alone too. I made a good choice buying the Taurus for this trip, as I feel the car was respected on the interstates, but I might trade it for a Ford pick up truck to do the next drive so I can go on the unpaved roads

Rte. 81 was so beautiful going through western VA yesterday in the mountains.

Nashville has TERRIBLE traffic and I was glad I took 440 instead of staying on 40 through it, because the cars kept moving fast even though it was very heavy traffic, and I saw total gridlock going west at 6:30 AM!

Now I’m home and I don’t have any food in the house, so, I’m back to doing  boring stuff like grocery shopping, picking up mail and doing wash, etc.

It’s hot and humid here at Virginia Beach. I had great weather for my drive and also at the Ghost Ranch, it only rained a little one day and it was cool and dry all week.

I accomplished my goal at the Ghost Ranch which was to complete 2 paintings in one week. And it was a great trip!

Now I’ll buy a whole pound of fresh NC steamed shrimp and eat it all myself to celebrate. I loved the west, but I’ll never move there because the seafood is probably all frozen. mmmm steamed shrimp.

 

so long, Ghost Ranch / hello Oklahoma

IMG_2379

I took this photo yesterday when I left the Ghost Ranch after breakfast.  This cabin was a popular subject for the Plein air artists. If I had more time there I’d have sketched it.

In OK news tonight, women in OKC are fighting for the right to go topless because men can go topless. They had a topless protest. A lawyer said they should be free to go topless but this opens up a whole can of worms.

 

IMG_2382

I’m in Shawnee OK. after driving for 7 hours across northern Texas then into OK on rte. 40. Traffic was light until I got close to Oklahoma City then it was very heavy and I got in my first traffic jam of this drive. When I crossed the state line I stopped at the rest area and wanted to figure out how far I’d get in OK today so I looked at the map they have taped to the counter and a lady working there spoke to me. I knew I could easily get past Oklahoma City and pointed to a town east of there and said, maybe I’ll stay there tonight. The lady said, ” There’s not much out there.” I had just driven through a couple hundred miles of “not much out there”.  I enjoyed the drive. It was another day on the plain with wide open spaces on both sides of the road.  I left the desert and got into a greener state. I saw thousands of wind turbines, a couple huge stock yards in North Texas and a couple dead armadillos next to the road.

After I got past Oklahoma City it was still early, but I remembered what the lady said about ” not much out there,”  and I knew what she meant because it was a long distance between Amarillo and Oklahoma City with few towns and fewer hotels. I did see a couple exits with motels and got a room before all those truckers and travelers on 40 fill these places up. Oh, the beauty of the vast empty space out there.

The rest area lady gave me this free tour book for OK and I think  the cover is real nice.

 

Ghost Ranch paintings by Gary Alsum

IMG_2367

Gary is from Loveland CO. These paintings are small, there’s a shine on the right. It’s still wet oil paint.

Darn it, my computer is telling me WordPress is taking up too much space. I hope I can keep posting until I get home and get this puppy to Best Buy where they will fix it for free.IMG_2368

I checked out of the Ghost Ranch and drove all day on a high desert plain. I had the open road for hours. It’s pretty much unpopulated from Santa Fe to Roswell.

I shopped in Roswell for ET souvenirs then decided to head east. Now I’m in Clovis New Mexico.

Got a new phone in Roswell, finally, after my old one died a week or so ago.

It’s hot with a strong dry wind out there. I enjoyed looking at the desert. Not many trees until I got almost here.

I missed my turn onto 60 into Texas by a couple blocks, not too bad for a long fast easy drive through a vast desert, to only be a couple blocks off the route. So, I got a room at the Holiday Inn Express. I remember Clovis is famous. They have a natural history museum with a fossil of a saber tooth tiger, and they also have a history of being a music town. Led Zeppelin played here and so did Buddy Holly to name a couple famous acts. I wonder if the music place or the museum is open on Mon.

Box Canyon @ Ghost Ranch / oil

IMG_2373

If I could describe the Ghost Ranch, I’d call it mystical.

I have to make this a fast post because it’s hard to stay connected.

A weird thing happened to my roomie and me. Half the time the lights don’t work in our cabin. Sometimes they flicker. Sue told the maintenance guy and he came right over. Naturally they worked then. He left and the lights went out 10 minutes later. I think it’s a bad circuit breaker, but are we haunted?