Friday, June 16, 2017

Gaming the System


If you want to climb the rankings it's important to choose the right category.

HTM-single hockey stick


On my second sabbatical, back around the turn of the century, I thought it would be a good idea to learn how to build a website. When I stare at the mind-numbing code I sometimes regret that decision. Here I try to update my site to include information about the current project.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The End (ish)


My first Summer home from college My parents and I lived in the trailer while they built their dream house. When it was finally completed the trailer sat mostly unused in the yard until the day a young couple in a Jeep Wagoneer dragged it away in a cloud of Dunn Road dust. They claimed it was just what they were looking for.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Where's The Downhill Portion of the Learning Curve?



Only about a page and a half of edit notes to go through.

Glass Hunter


Pro tip: You can get used art cheaper than new glass. I scoured the thrift stores and scored some sweet motel art. The harvested glass will find new life in my monotonous monochromatic paintings.

Analog Man in a Digital World


Once again the studio couch proves its value as I map out the book. To think I wasn't even allowed to sit on this front room couch as a child.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Bane of My Existence





When framing it is imperative to maintain a clean, highly organized work space. 

Do  as I say, not as I do.


Framed paintings piling up.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Nice View


The reward for hauling a trailer to the top of a mountain was the panoramic view. Unfortunately the view was often obscured by clouds.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Nasty Bits


As I begin the process of frame recycling and selection I reach the inescapable conclusion: I'm gonna need a bigger couch.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Get Your Kicks


Corvette at Joliet

No study of pre-Interstate Highway System travel (yes, that's what this is) would be complete without some mention of the most famous pre-Interstate highways, namely Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway. They were neither romantic nor nostalgic when we drove on them. They were simply the line (not straight) between two points. I have two clear recollections of traveling on Route 66. The first involved trying to sound out the word ALBUQUERQUE with amusing results. The second was traveling alone with my Father in the middle of the night. I was my job to keep him awake. I was listening to Wolfman Jack (before I knew who he was) on the radio. He was doing a bit about an elf or something climbing up on the bridge of your nose and saying the three words you longed to hear: "You're under arrest." We pulled into a truck stop and I got a bottle of root beer. I discovered that root beer tastes really weird at 2 am.

Joliet, Illinois is the place where Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway momentarily followed the same path.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Over a Different River


On two occasions while waiting for real houses we parked the trailer at Canyon Glen in Provo Canyon. There was a railroad bridge that teenagers jumped off of, my mother fished from, and a train regularly crossed. I was in a state of anxiety while my mother fished. The constant sounds of rushing water, the canyon breeze blowing through the trees, and trucks using their Jake Brakes* as they descended the canyon are powerful memories. There were no showers but there was a small trading post that sold Necco wafers and rubber erasers (the erasers tasted better).

 I dusted off my artistic license and doubled the height of the actual bridge It still doesn't match my childhood recollection.

*The Jacobs Engine Brake (also known as the "Jake Brake®") is a diesel engine retarder that uses the engine to aid in slowing and controlling the vehicle.  When activated, the engine brake alters the operation of the engine's exhaust valves so that the engine works as a power-absorbing air compressor.  This provides a retarding, or slowing, action to the vehicle's drive wheels, enabling you to have improved vehicle control without using the service brakes.  This conservation results in reduced service brake maintenance, shorter trip times, and lower total cost of ownership.

This conservation also results in the thunderous BOOGADUH-BOOGADUH-BOOGADUH sound that echoed off the canyon walls. It's because of Jake Brakes you will often see signs posted at the edge of a town advising that noise ordinances are enforced or that engine or compression brakes are prohibited.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Over the River...



Being part of the family that "went West and made good" we usually won the silver dollar for traveling the farthest to family reunions. The trips I remember involved parking the trailer in Kentucky with a Roberson and then crossing the Ohio River into Southern Indiana to visit some Reasors. For me it was like visiting a foreign country with different customs, religion, and language. It was an exotic and humid land of porch swings and lightening bugs.

 By the time I came along Grandma had already moved into English to share a duplex with Gladys and Riley. She had a woodpecker door knocker, yellow water, and a single die cast John Deere toy tractor to play with. The last time I visited "the old home place" (seen here) it had been almost completely reclaimed by nature.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Progress?


Finished.

 

Nope, maybe should light the torches.


With lit torches maybe should darken the sky.


 With this much power you're certain to make the occasional error in judgement.


Finished. Again.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Belly Scraper With Smudge Pots


I remember watching the Belly Scrapers lumbering across the Montana landscape like huge bugs.
Road construction was often indicated by rows of flaming smudge pots that looked suspiciously like cartoon bombs.

 In Progress

Working since July without a major clean-up. Things are encroaching and beginning to limit my mobility but I hate wasting time on maintenance. Too busy sawing to sharpen the saw.
After seeing this photograph it became clearer to me why I am attracted to my invented serene and monochromatic world.

Sightings


In Dad's post-military career his duties as a vocational rehabilitation counselor included occasional visits to remote locations in Northern Washington. He would visit places like Colville, Kettle Falls and Republic. On one trip he parked the trailer on the Columbia River while he made his rounds. One afternoon while out scouting for Sasquatch tracks I saw an enormous aquatic creature breach the still waters of the river. People said maybe a giant sturgeon, but I know better.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Ideal




Streamlined polished aluminum with a backdoor, bathroom, bedroom, dual air conditioners, portholes, tail fins, vestigial wing buds, superfluous teardrop running lights, TV and a visor all pulled by a sleek Hudson Hornet. The ideal trailer might still need flared fenders and a rotating gun turret.

Pre-interstate Highway travel required that you slow down and drive through towns. You got to see their Main Street Christmas decorations, their city park, and their places of business. Restaurants and motels were located in town rather than clustered around interchanges.

Because we brought our own food and pulled a kitchen, I can only remember a handful of times we stopped at a restaurant of any kind. Most of those occurred after we got rid of some of the older girls. Dad claimed he didn't like soft ice cream so even the Little America 10 cent cones were highly unlikely. Cars were not dining rooms on wheels. Cup holders consisted of two shallow circular impressions in the sheet metal of the inside of the jockey box door. They were more designated resting areas than holders.

The future was streamlined by industrial designers like Henry Dreyfuss, Raymond Loewy, and Norman Bel Geddes. It was fully realized in my world in toys.





Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Son of Trailer Envy: TV & AC





We didn't have a fan, let alone air conditioning. And television in a trailer was a ridiculous concept. We did, however, have a pink Coleman cooler and a broom.

After we moved to Spokane, Dad would sometimes drag the trailer up to Van Dissel's Waitts Lake Resort. Van Dissel would stomp around in his overalls and rubber boots maintaining his fleet of plywood fishing barges. He walked like Groucho Marx. Mom and Dad would head out fishing before the sun was up and for breakfast Mom would fry up a mess of fresh rainbow trout dredged in cornmeal.

In August of 1967 we missed the final episode of The Fugitive (a Quinn Martin production) because we were in the trailer at Waits Lake. As far as I know the "one-armed man" is still getting away with murder. One of the nearby trailers had a TV. I learned the meaning of the word "covet."

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hey Lady!


 Our faithful and slightly neurotic dachshund, Lady, oversaw activities from her perch on the back of the front seat. Here her job is to prevent "bumper boys" from affixing Reptile Gardens stickers to the back of the beloved Buick. Dad didn't care much about the cleanliness of his automobile. I don't remember him ever washing a car, but the only sticker allowed was the Air Force decal on the front windshield that drew snappy salutes from the Air Police (apes) at the base entrance.

One of the coolest design features of the mid 1950s Buicks was the lack of a B-pillar. When you rolled front and back windows down there was nothing but empty space.



Friday, February 10, 2017

Trailer Envy 4: Backdoor


Spartan Imperial Manor

Trailers with toilets were called "self-contained." Ours was not. We used gas station bathrooms, trailer park shower rooms and the occasional bush. At night Mom placed an open half-gallon cardboard milk carton in the middle of the floor for emergency use. Years later she received a portable potty for Christmas. Scissor legs and a disposable bag hanging from a plastic seat. Luxury.

As an Air Force family we shopped at the commissary. We would buy a month's worth of milk and Wonder Bread. The milk came in those cardboard cartons that were re-purposed. They bore the warning that selling or giving away commissary purchases to groups or individuals not entitled to commissary privileges was a violation of military regulations. The only time I had bread that hadn't been in the freezer was on a bologna sandwich made in the car on the trip home from the commissary.

The Spartan  Aircraft Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma was known for its luxurious Spartan (there's an oxymoron) Executive aircraft. Howard Hughes flew one. Oil Baron J. Paul Getty owned the company and after World War II converted it to trailer manufacturing using the same rigid frame/monocoque shell technology. The all-aluminum trailers were large, expensive and out of our league. They also had a really cool logo.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Art Historical Influences




Mom didn't like being on the downhill side of mountain roads. It was one of the few times she would move to the back seat. She would use the occasion to tell us how in 1926 she rode with her family in the back of a truck from Crawford County, Indiana to Great Falls, Montana to live with her bachelor Uncle who had gone West to teach school but ended up a wealthy landowner. He kept his wealth in sliver dollars which to this day are believed to be hidden somewhere around the old homestead.

"I was five years old when dad decided, almost overnight, that we were going to Great Falls, or rather to a ranch between Dutton and Power, Montana, to live with my Uncle Grover and work in the wheat harvest. Eight of us...in a Model A Ford truck.  The roads weren't paved and I still have an embedded fear of winding mountain roads. They were so narrow with drop-offs that seemed to me to never end."


During the painting process I kept thinking parts of the painting looked familiar. A little searching found some  historical influences.




Duccio, The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew, 1308-1311




Walt Disney, Mickey's Trailer, 1938




Grant Wood, Death on Ridge Road, 1935

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hold-Up




One of the few times our trailer was used in a purely recreational way was a trip to Yellowstone National Park. I was disconcerted by the geographic instability of the place. I was 4.  My Mother, however, was convinced that the lethargic beggars that held up traffic for free food during the day turned into bloodthirsty marauders at night.





Feeding bears from cars continued at Yellowstone until 1970.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Give up. Surrender. Back Down.

In his military history Dad said,  "I had navigated to  London, Paris and Calcutta; to South America, Europe, Africa and Asia; to the islands of the Atlantic from Greenland to Ascension Island. I had navigated to Hawaii, Philippines, Okinawa, Japan and the islands in between.

I can't number the times I looked out the window after flying many hours over the ocean, with nothing but celestial bodies to fix my position, to see a tiny speck of land that I expected to see, when I expected to see it. That tiny speck was usually covered with clouds and invisible until a few miles away."

Terrestrial navigation of the new Interstate Highways, however, often proved to be more of a challenge.
More than once he found himself facing the two small red "Wrong Way" signs at the top of an off ramp he had driven up in error.


Here we see the challenge of backing the trailer down a long curving ramp.

As he neared retirement from the Air Force Dad left behind his years in the Chevy wilderness and treated himself to a brand new 1965 Buick Wildcat. It was a sweet ride. He probably thought he was going to be earning enough selling mutual funds to make the payments. Think again.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

All Traffic Must Exit


Having taken part in the Army's 1919 Transcontinental  Motor Convoy which followed the Lincoln Highway from Washington, DC to San Francisco and later being exposed to the superior German Autobahn, President Dwight D. Eisenhower saw the need for a Federal Highway System that would link American Air Force Bases. As the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways was being constructed and sometimes for years afterwards your stretch of the newborn road would abruptly end and you would find yourself back on an undivided two-lane in Wolf Lodge or Ritzville or Tremonton.

Sputnik


I was born the son of a Warrior (both Hot and Cold) the same year as Sputnik.