Friday, May 27, 2016


In September 2015, I loaded up my car and headed out, taking a drive that ultimately took me on a lap around Lake Erie. I wanted to meet up with my friend, Australian painter Colley Whisson, as well as visit my family up north. I decided to take the car since it would allow me to stop along the road and paint anything that might interest me.

Sketchbook scribbling
The first night was spent at a B&B in Little Rock, Arkansas. In the morning, before heading out of town, I painted the Junction Bridge, near the Clinton Presidential Library.

Junction Bridge,  Little Rock, Arkansas 9x12"

I wonder if this sign was vandalized, or if it's sorting itself out. Either way, it made me chuckle like a seventh grader.

Sign for the Clinton School of Pubic Service (Ha!)
While still in Arkansas, I saw an abandoned "shotgun house" and met the owner as I was painting it. He told me that 10 people, who worked for him picking cotton, lived in there at one time... and there was only an outhouse out back.
Shotgun house, rural Arkansas 9x12"

Next, it was on to Tennessee, where I met up with my friend Colley, who was in the US teaching some workshops. I took a workshop with him several years ago and we became friends. I highly recommend his classes and videos.  We did a little painting and photographing around Leiper's Fork after he finished his classes there, then took a drive to visit painter Lori Putnam and her husband, Mark Putnam (who created the Value Viewer app for iPad and iPhone). Lori is a terrific painter, and I was more than a little jealous when she and Colley traded paintings! Colley was kind enough to give me the painting shown here when he finished it.

Colley Whisson stands between our paintings of a barn in Leipers Fork, TN

Some more Sketchbook scribbling 
The former Gray Drug Store in Franklin, Tennessee is now a restaurant. I stood in a doorway and painted it one evening after dark.
Gray Drug sign in Franklin, Tennessee 9x12"

I dropped Colley off at the airport so he could go teach another class in Atlanta, then headed up into Cincinnati, Ohio to visit my oldest brother George and his wife Martha, who took me to see the Loveland Castle (or Chateau Laroche), a museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. I went back to paint it after I left their home.
Chateau Laroche in Loveland, Ohio 9x12"
After painting the Loveland Castle, I drove up into Cleveland, where I stayed at my brother Tony's house overnight. Tony and I then hopped in my car and drove to Windsor, Ontario, where we visited my cousin Frank Gabriel (son of my uncle Frank Gabriel) in the hospital. He unfortunately passed away the night after we were there. Then it was across Ontario to Stayner, where my sister Mary and her husband Ken live on their farm. While there, we also drove to nearby Collingwood, where our oldest sister, Gina, is in a nursing home.

The Richardson Farm in Stayner, Ontario 9x12"

Tony and I completed the circuit around Lake Erie, and then I did a bit of painting at  Squire's Castle, in the Metro Park in Willoughby, Ohio, near where I grew up.

Squires Castle in Willoughby, Ohio 9x12"
Next it was back home to Texas. On the way, I stopped only to sleep in a truck stop parking lot for a few hours and then at a rest stop in Texarkana for about an hour. The only time I didn't drive on the entire trip was when we got back to Cleveland, and Tony drove his wife Lisa and me in his car to dinner with our sister Maria and her husband Paul.

No doubt about it, I like a good road trip. I need a trailer.