an oil painting designed around this tin Marx
"Roadside Rest Service Station". I will
try to tell a story of a family that is traveling
on vacation along a long stretch of highway in
the California desert. They pull into the gas
station/cafe to get a map and a cool drink.
old linen postcard will fill the background. This
is a photo postcard of the southeast corner of
California where the northeast corner of the
Sonoran Desert shows off some of it's Saguaro
use lettering from a fruit crate label and
another postcard to title the front of linen
vintage map and bottle of Coke will be the items
held by my model when he poses for this painting.
the station wagon and trailer that will be
pulling up to the gas pump. I will be filling in
the windows of the wagon and painting the faces
of the family as they look outside while dad
studies the map.
a close-up of the 'cafe' part of the gas station.
Those two characters serving up lunch look a
little like Laurel and Hardy.
everthing in approximate position for the
painting. I will have to scale the car and
trailer up to meet the proportions of the gas
a preliminary step, I had Carol photograph me so
I could get an idea of where and how the man in
my painting would be positioned. At this point, I
don't plan on myself as being the model for this
printed out the image of myself and then cutting
it out, I taped it to the canvas to see how it
will work with the rest of the objects. Notice
the two tin men in the background laughing at me.
The perspective is a little off, as I should have
had Carol photograph me from a little higher
advantage. Unfortunately, that was as high as
Carol would go up the ladder, but it will give me
a starting point when I photograph the 'real'
the entire canvas (40"x40") and the
size relationship of the man reading his map.
With this out of the way and the search for a
model 'father figure' in the works, I'll begin
painting the background postcard...
is a close-up of the left side of the canvas
a detail of the right side.
blocked in the sky and distant mountains of the
rest of the postcard is blocked with a thin
passage of oil paint.
you can see me drawing in some detail in the
unpainted areas. Notice the easel to the right of
my painting, where I put some of the props and
photos for reference.
brushed in the snack bar and the two gas pumps.
Coke bottle is 'roughed in'. Notice the fine
texture of the linen canvas in the unpainted area
around the bottle. I use a double primed portrait
linen that allows me to get some detail in the
smaller areas like a person's face and hands.
love the lines of this tin car. I think the maker
of this toy intended it to be a Ford as indicated
by the shiny metal insignia on the trunk.
the tin travel trailer. I've put one of the
family members in the window.
California/Nevada "Happy Motoring
Guide" is now through its first stage of
paint, along with the shadow cast on it by the
the entire painting up to this point. I need to
either find a model for the 'dad' in the painting
or give in and be the model for this painting. I
can't paint any further until I have that man
drawn into position. If only I can get Carol one
more wrung up the ladder to take the
picture...Tomorrow's another day!
painted in the station wagon, modifying the
window area (see real car above) by filling in
the open windows with 'tin' and painting the rest
of the family inside. Notice that I've lightly
sketched the man (myself) in front of the car
(Carol got brave today!).
to make the color under the props a sand color,
only separating itself from the back wall
postcard by a small dark line at the bottom of
at this side of the painting, I just realized
that I didn't cast the shadow from the car on the
lift onto the postcard. I'll fix that next time.
is blocked in except the man, and I'm waiting for
some sunshine to pose myself again. That way I
will be able to see exactly how the light falls
couple adjustments in some shadows, most
noticeble the long cast shadows of some cactus in
the foreground. Well, sun's out strong today, so
as soon as it gets around to the front of my
house, I'll get some photos for the man reading
photo Carol! I'll be using this to get the
'map reader' is enjoying his Coke!
given the background of the postcard its final
passage of paint, darkening it up a bit to
provide more contrast to the props that sit in
front of it.
look at the entire canvas. I still have some work
to do on the postcard lettering and the box for
the postage stamp.
completed the lettering on the postcard.
as the postage box.
background is now completed and I can move onto
is detailed (final coat of paint).
to change the final color of the service station
from the original yellow to more of an off white
hue because it was too close in color to the
service station is finished. Notice how the two
characters 'sit back' into the shade now.
shot of my easel to the right of my painting
easel. Notice the glow on the lower right photo
of the station wagon...that's a reflection from
my space heater. Pretty cold for California right
look at the left pump all finished, and...
the right pump completed.
entire service station is done.
bottle just about complete. Need to paint the
lettering "Coca-Cola" but have to wait
for the dark paint around it to dry. Notice that
I didn't render the "return for
deposit" wording, but chose to make it more
map is completed.
begun to detail the station wagon, starting with
the bear, boy, dog, suitcase and 'mom' in the
mom and ...
the boy and...
station wagon is done!
man/father is done. Now just the cast shadows on
the ground and the ground surface itself and I
will be done!
and the ground beneath the props are painted.
"The California Desert" is finished!