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The Barn Project, Now Available

December 10, 2016

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My little book, The Barn Project, can now be ordered online for direct shipping to you.. Use the link below to be taken to the order page. There is also a short preview of several pages there. The 6″ x 9″ softcover book has 39 pages, with over 50 images of paintings and drawings. This is a fun little book with lots of art, and text spread throughout which talks about some of the barns.

http://www.blurb.com/b/7602112-the-barn-project

 

Barns at RV Parks

November 27, 2016

I’m working on a little book called The Barn Project, featuring paintings and drawings of many of the old barns we’ve spotted in our travels and explorations. In the course of gathering the images together, I came upon these three that were on or next to RV parks. I suspect many of you RV travelers have seen some as well.

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Singing Hills RV Park is located outside of Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. This barn is on the RV park property, sitting beside one of the driveways leading between the entrance and the RV sites. The doors were never open when we were there, but I suspect that’s where the park maintenance equipment was kept.

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Berry Springs RV Park is located north of Georgetown, Texas. We spent a couple of months at Berry Springs during two different winters while visiting with grown kids who live in the Austin area. This barn is actually on adjacent property. I stood under a huge spreading oak tree and painted this en plein air.

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Rustic Knolls Campground is on Keys Road, outside the corporate limits of Mount Vernon, Ohio. It’s a family resort place with a section devoted to long-term summer sites and some short-term sites for transients. With a game room, a swimming lake, playground and fishing pond, it’s a popular weekend and holiday spot for locals. We’ve spent considerable time there while visiting Nell’s family. I painted the barn on location up by the fishing pond.

The House on 36

November 19, 2016

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Sometimes you see part of a place, and then you wait for years to actually see what the rest of it looks like. We’ve been making the trip from Texas to Mount Vernon, Ohio together for 27 years. This time we’re staying with our Ohio kids on the east side of Columbus, but the approach to Mount Vernon is still the same: State Highway 36 through Centerburg. For years we have passed this house a bit north of Centerburg, but there has always been heavy shrubbery and high weeds between the highway and the house. It’s a two lane blacktop road with not much of a shoulder to pull over and stop on safely. All I’ve ever been able to see is the second story of this house. Two days ago, Nell made the drive over to Mount Vernon. She told me “You know that house you’ve never been able to get a photo of because of all the weeds? All that has been cleared away.” So, when we went that way yesterday together, I was prepared. As we approached the house, she slowed the car enough for me to get one good shot of the house as we passed by.

There are some outbuildings on the other side of the house, and a lovely big red barn, which is all barely visible through trees. The lack of ground floor windows on this side of the house suggests that the more interesting parts of the structure are probably on the other side, but the gingerbread overhang at the door was a nice surprise.

A Slightly Different Focus

November 17, 2016
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Kentucky Barn, 5×7, Gouache

I’ve let this blog sit for several months because I didn’t quite know what to do with it. Its original purpose was to chronicle our RV travels, but travel in an RV has been put on an indefinite Hold. While we do still live in an RV (our 36 foot Montana fifth wheel) it is parked as a home base and we don’t travel in it. We are back to being like everybody else in that our travelling is now done in our car. When I look at our Facebook friends, I’ve realized that many of them travel much more than we do. A variety of issues hold us at home now far more than we had intended. But we do find ourselves exploring, even if it’s closer to home.

It occurs to me that another purpose for this blog was to chronicle our travels and explorations through art. Yes, I do have an art blog, but that has always been for sharing the variety of work that I do, and to share materials and methods. This blog, Back Roads & Brushes, was meant to be more of a “places” thing, truly intended to share local color, wherever we might go.  Besides, I think the title is kind of cool and I hate to give it up. So, here I go again, brainstorming and finding new directions.

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Kentucky, Along I-65

The ink & watercolor sketches and drawings that follow the Urban Sketching genre have become one of my favorite forms of expression. Much of what I do could more properly be called Rural Sketching, since old barns and unique houses are most often my subjects. We are presently in Ohio, and will be here for a while. I’m developing sketches from photos taken while on the road, and I’m sure there will b quite a few from our time here.

 

I’ll see if I can breathe some life back into this blog with more of a “where have we been” focus and less of the RV part. Bear with me while I try to chart a slightly different course. We’ll see where it goes.

Sketching the Texas Gulf Coast

April 22, 2016

We started our full-time RV life with a two week stay at Galveston Island State Park. Since then, we’ve spent two winters in Rockport, and made numerous weekend trips to Port Aransas. Here are a few images from time spent on the Gulf Coast.

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Galveston Island is a mix of old and new, the result of hurricanes that have wreaked havoc on the city. There are poor sections with houses that need rebuilding and areas, especially along the beach, with multistory colorful mansions. And then there are the restaurants and business establishments. Among the most colorful is El Gusto Restaurant on Broadway. We’ve never eaten in this place, but maybe someday we will. It’s been there for years.

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Further south, along what is called The Coastal Bend, near Corpus Christi, is Aransas Pass. Lots of shrimp boats, like this one we found moored at a bait shop along an inlet near a boat yard with some huge tugboats being repaired. From Aransas Pass, one can cross the car ferry to Port Aransas.

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Port Aransas is a true tourist town, with golf cart rental places on every corner, beachwear and souvenir shops, and specialty shops like Steve’s Custom Jewelers.

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In the mood for ice cream? Who isn’t in a beach town. Dessert Island Ice Cream is a definite stop during the summer. Or any other season.

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From the old fishing town of Fulton to Rockport, and to Mustang Island and Port Aransas, you can be as busy or as laid back as you want.

By the way, you can get to Port Aransas via Corpus Christi, but if you’re an RVer, you should know that we’ve seen everything from tractor trailers to huge motor coaches with a toad roll onto the ferry and make the short crossing from Aransas Pass to Port Aransas.

We love the Gulf Coast.

 

 

 

 

Laundry Day

April 12, 2016

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Every RVer’s favorite thing: laundry. We’ve seen some scary laundry rooms at RV parks and we’ve seen some really nice ones. The same has been true when we’ve gone into town wherever we were and found a Laundromat. They generally aren’t in the best locations in small towns, so you never know what you’ll find or who might be hanging around.

Nell normally does the laundry at one of the laundry rooms here at the RV park where we’re parked long-term. They’re nice and clean, and it’s usually not hard to get to a machine. This particular day was Monday, and Nell knew a couple of people who normally do their laundry on Monday. I usually help her get the stuff there and back. We had a pretty good load so, on a whim, we drove into the nearby town of Leander to a laundromat a neighbor had suggested.

I’ve started carrying my sketchbook and pens almost everywhere we go so, while waiting for the machines to do their work, I sat down and did this little sketch. The timing was perfect, and I was at a stopping point in time to help do the folding. We then had lunch at a nearby catfish restaurant, went grocery shopping, and got back home in time for a neighbor to see this sketch and buy it.

And the Laundromat itself? Clean, well-lit, and even though there were quite a few people there, we got machines easily and didn’t have to wait.

Not a bad day.

Art & Travel

April 10, 2016

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I’ve been experimenting with a  way to record our travels – and places we’ve been – by using sketches in addition to – and sometimes instead of – photographs.  The  Bakery Café is in Aransas Pass, Texas. We spent two winters just up the highway in Rockport, and on several occasions, had breakfast here. It’s a typical town square café with a few stools at a counter as well as tables and chairs. You may be sitting at a table next to a family of tourists or a couple of fishermen. The food was tasty with good portions, and the service was great.

I’d be curious to hear how you feel about seeing sketches such as this here on the blog.