I have always been fascinated by World War 11 B 17 bombers and while working at the Grand Canyon, learned that John Hyatt flew one. My paintings are made to tell a personal life story. In this case, John was one of my best bosses in life and personally worked with me on some projects the other bosses didn’t know about.Good By John, the world is worse off with your passing.
For several years, Jane and I would go to Winslow on the weekend of the twenty third for their annual model train show. It also coincided with my birthday so we made it a weekend getaway. This one year we got up there on a friday mid afternoon and checked into our motel. Later, the wind started picking up and a massive dust storm kicked up west of town in the area called “Tucked Flats”. The ground is miles of loose red clay and visibility turns to zero. DPS shut down I 40 for two days and thousands of motor vehicles and semis took every available spot in town to park and the interstate was backed up for miles. This was the worst dust storm I ever saw.
At art class a couple weeks ago, I didn’t have anything to paint, so one of the art teacher found a flyer with this 1948 Mack truck on the cover. I had it enlarger some and transferred the image to a piece of canvas they gave me. and an idea evolved from that. In other words, I like to paint something that tells a story.
I like drawing and painting cars and gas stations. It’s hard for me to do people, but must learn. Also it should be humorous.I always liked the name “Cities Service” other that “Citgo”. Were there any nice stations in Calumet? I just finished this today for my art class next Thursday.
Our art class presented this mountain scent that I adapted for my own purpose. I like to paint something that tells a story. In this case it reminds me of my father Henry’s business moto, “service sells”. Dad bought this four wheel drive truck after the war so he could help his customers get that new car he sold them started on the cold winter mornings. In some cases, it was pilot error, but anyway he sent someone out there to help out. Father was a successful businessman so I adapted this same practice in my own life and it works, “service sells”.
Bob Erkkila, my first friend, his first car. 1950 Chrysler Winsor
Bob and I started playing together when we about 2 and 3 years old. I was a year older. I was allowed to play on our property outside which was my parents Chrysler/Plymouth car dealership car lot. Bobs mother could see when I was out there from their upstairs apartment window. She would take Bob outside to play. We kind of knew our play was supervised from those upstairs widows by his mother or from my mother’s kitchen window. Everything was fine until I turned 5 and started kindergarten. Bob was only 4 and couldn’t go. He raised such a ruckus about that, the school allowed him to come with me. They thought he would tire of this after a few days and stay home. He showed them, he stayed the whole year. He had to take it again the next year, not that he flunked, you have to be 5 to take kindergarten.
Every couple of years the manager of the JC Penney Department store bought a new Chrysler from my dad. He gave the old one to the Nun’s in town. This time the Nun’s didn’t need a car, so Bob ended up with it.
Bob got the painting last Saturday and it was a gift from me. It’s the only thing I thought he might like. We have been friends for a lifetime.
, the Cadillac of boats
Recently I have been painting pictures that tell a story. In the summer, we lived at our Bootjack home along the Shore of Portage Lake near Dreamland. The Fredrickson home was a few lots to the north. When I was about 14 years old, they bought a Chris Craft like the near one in the picture. My father being a mechanic was asked to tune it up every spring and I guess this gave me water skiing rights all summer. The king family that owned a share in the boat had a little boy about 4 years old. I was standing in knee deep water when I noticed him face down in the water and not moving. I scooped him out of the water and yelled at everyone there. “I found him face down in the water and he’s not moving”. I was told to lay him face down in the grass where Leslie (a neighbor my age) began artificial respiration. After a few minutes it didn’t seem to be working. Doctor Roach was called from a couple miles away and fortunately he was home. Being a stout man he could really run from his car to where we were on the beach. He raised the boy strait up by the ankles and with the other hand, patted him on the back. Water came out of his mouth and was crying and very much alive.
Now for the lighter side.
The Kings also had a daughter about 9 years old who became Miss America in the seventies, Rebecca King.
I participated in this class project although the scene was dark and gloomy. About this time I heard that one of the best bosses I had in life recently died. It was Bruce Cressey? Who owned the Chevrolet garage in Cokato MN. He had a wreaker like the one I painted in the lower left corner and it’s there in memory of him.
Russell Jarvi’s birthday was on June 6th. Jane thought I should do a car picture for him. This was done in a couple days in order for him to receive it in time, and it did. Russell’s family moved to Calumet in 1950 when we were seven years old. His mother had leased a service station on the East end of Pine Street. A decade later, Russell moved to California and came back with his dream car, the 1957 Pontic Ragtop. Now I had to place that car in front of his Mom’s gas station. I got a big bang out of it as it got him by total surprise.
When I joined the “High Deserts Artist Group’ last fall I was drawing fifties cars at the time. They liked what I was doing and said I could continue with that regardless of what the rest of the class was doing. My purpose of joining the group was to learn more about art in general like landscape for the background of future car drawings.
This was a class project I participated in. Instead of a car, how about a boat. People in Arizona don’t know what a Great Lakes net boat looks like. Belonging to a group can be a two way street. We learn from each other.