If you stumbled onto this link, and wondered if this is really an art blog, I admit it, I occasionally stray from the theme, and lose the thread! In ’08 we bought a big sailboat in Tortola, to be our winter home away from Ohio, the idea was that learning to blog would occupy all those hours when we are moored, or cruising, or under repair, a frequent condition for an older boat. Then I discovered that I could set up a tabletop easel in the cockpit, I found sailing scenes are fun to paint, and I didn’t have that spare time! But blogging became a habit, a light-hearted account of an artist’s life on the warm water of the BVI and, now, of our more sedentary life in the Midwest.
Artists need a life outside the studio, though every artist knows that despite every other good thing that happens in your life, if your painting isn’t going right, if you’re not in touch with that Artist within you, it can be overwhelmingly concerning. For the past few months I have been caught up in painting a few major works inside, and as they say…….
“Learning to paint landscapes in the studio is like learning to swim at home on the sofa” So, time to go out!
We all enjoy time off, so Mari and I took the guys on a mystery tour. They brought an overnight bag, and a rain jacket…April showers were a real possibility. We headed out across the flat farming country of western Ohio. Here there are sprawling tidy farms, fields just plowed and sewn, tall silos, and a cool brisk wind, and blossom, lots of blossom. We looked at small towns which were established and thrived along the railroads, but now are sleepy small communities with few jobs, and little to appeal to young residents. We stopped in Jackson Center, for a tour of the Airstream factory.
If you go, take closed toe shoes, and book ahead. I am not a big fan of the riveted look, but enthusiastic cult followers love them and their super luxurious interiors. A good size Airstream, and the rig to haul it around, will cost as much as a small house, even a medium-big house in western Ohio. Or you can buy an early 1948 small model for just $60,000. Not for me, though it was a great way to get insight into the many hands-on steps in this small all-American factory. In the evening, we had a swim and ate coal-fired pizza outside on the patio of a small joint in Wapokoneta. (Waw-paw-ko-net-a, pop 9800) We were in the birthplace of Neil Armstrong. He didn’t live here for long and then got as far out of town as he could..err…the moon!
The next morning, while the guys did a quick tour of his museum, the girls checked out the antique mall in a former opera house, and then the Temple of Tolerance, home of Jim Bowser. His back yard is a maze of rocks, rock piles and mini shrines, and he has live music here on a warm Thursday evening in summer. Jim has a slab from a bank counter that robber John Dillinger leapt over, a potato-shaped rock from Woodstock, the front step of the former Ku Klux Klan headquarters in Wapakoneta. “I ask black people to sit on the step,” said Jim, “so they can liberate it.”
The Barrel House is another of the yard’s attractions, which Jim said was the only house in the U.S. deliberately built to resemble a barrel. It has bullet holes, shot into it during Prohibition.
We couldn’t linger, we had a reservation for a tour of the Kitchen Aid factory. The production here is a staggering 2 million standmixers a year, quality control is amazing, the factory was fascinating. Unlike Airstream it is fully automated, and impressive. In the basement of their outlet shop in Greenville they have refurnished models at half price. It was tempting to purchase one, but what color to buy?
Perhaps this one…….A beauty!
But what to do with my faithful and very serviceable Bosch?
We hopped across into Indiana, to gaze up at lofty windmills, and in the late afternoon we drove home via Grand Lake. It is beautiful here, but it was still too chilly for a dip, and BTW we hear that the water is seriously polluted.
We had another day out a day on the back roads of Geauga County, and came home with souvenir plants, cheese, used furniture and chocolate. A trip is not complete without a little chocolate. It’s good for you. We felt we’d been away for days!
Now I’m back to work, and I’m painting some small paintings for friends, like this cabin in Flatrock. We spent a few days there early in the year. If I concentrate on a barter business, I could spend my whole winter going from cabin to cabin.
Get in touch.. Just a few days in yours, for a portrait or two!