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Update on RV Life

March 18, 2017

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As many of you know, we bought our 2008 36 foot Montana Mountaineer 5th Wheel with no intention of towing it for travel. We found this idyllic little spot in a small RV park northeast of Austin, Texas over two years ago and parked the fiver “permanently”. If you are an RVer, you know why the word permanently is in quotation marks. For Rvers, nothing is really permanent. In the RV park business, I think the more common phrase is long term. As you can see in these photos, we’ve settled in nicely.

We spent the last two months of 2016  in Ohio (without the RV) because of some family matters. While we were gone, we learned that the RV park had been sold, and when we returned, we discovered that our site rent was going to increase by $95 per month. We found ourselves agonizing over what we should do. We love the Gulf Coast, especially the Rockport, Aransas Pass, Port Aransas area near Corpus Christi, Texas. We made a quick trip to Rockport and spent one day touring as many RV parks as we could. Since we had previously spent two winters there, we were already familiar with many of them and scratched most of them off the list before we even got there. But we did find a very nice park that we really felt we could be comfortable in. About a week later, I had an appointment with my cardiologist.  It seems I have a couple of heart issues.

Suddenly, it didn’t seem quite so practical to move from the Austin area to the coast, where we would be over four hours from our doctors and the medical facilities we have come to trust, especially since there are still some unresolved issues with Nell’s health as well.

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We could deal with and overcome the obstacles, but as long as we have health issues that need attention, it makes far more sense to stay where we are.  While we have had some steps built and acquired some used patio furniture, we have held off from building anything more extensive, like the decks and gazebos some of our neighbors have built. Yes, the sites themselves are all gravel, but they drain extremely well and when smoothed out and covered with outdoor carpet, ours is comfortable, dry and clean. There is enough space in our “back yard green belt” to add some sites behind us, but it seems unlikely.

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It’s understandable that our rent increased, considering that we have one of the largest sitess in the park. (We were on a waiting list for it.)  We did make some preparations to move, but they were practical things that will serve us well anyway. We had all four tires replaced, and it’s comforting to know that if we did have to relocate, it could be done safely. We did sell our 100 lb propane tank, and we’ll probably miss it next winter, but we’ll manage, and again, that’s one very heavy item that wouldn’t have to be moved in an emergency.

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We removed most of the old decals, at least the ones that were peeling badly. Nell was better at that job than I was. It looks much cleaner now, especially since we immediately had it washed and waxed. At least now we should be able to hose it down and wipe it off to keep it cleaner, and I acquired a California Duster with a long handle to keep it a bit cleaner during the dry months. We still have a few things we want to do, some of which are little upgrades and some are maintenance. We’ll take them one at a time.

Meanwhile, it looks like we’ll be hanging around here. Since we sold the Class C last year, any travel we do will be by car for now, although we really don’t have any major travel on the calendar.  So since we’re sitting still, today we picked up a few small flowering plants and we’ll be putting the pots back into service for spring and summer.


New Art Book Available

February 27, 2017

I’m happy to announce that my new little book Painting The World My Way ~ The Gouache Book can now be purchased online at:

In this beautiful little book, I explain my use of gouache in my landscape paintings. This 68 page book includes descriptions of the medium and how it behaves both indoors and out. It has over 100 images of demonstrations and finished gouache paintings, and will be a nice addition to a library and a great studio reference book. And of course, there are a few photos of yours truly painting outdoors on some of our adventures.


Update on The Barn Project

December 15, 2016

Please note that signed copies of THE BARN PROJECT must be ordered directly from us and not from Blurb (the publisher).  We are currently away from home due to a death in the family, and, weather permitting we will return the week after Christmas. We apologize for the delay.

The Barn Project, Now Available

December 10, 2016


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.

Please note: Several people have mentioned signed copies.  In order to have a signed copy, the books must be ordered directly from me and not from Blurb. If you want a signed copy, tell me in comments below or PM me on Facebook.


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.


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.


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.


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


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

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.


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.