Another trip abroad, thirty days in the Nederlands. Landed with a mild fever. Ate some hash, drank some tea and smoked a joint before eating and crashing at my hostel. Woke to discover I was still high and that my traveling buddy, my posse, from 1999 was now managing the hostel. It was raining and forecast for more. I did the only sensible thing a feverish artist should do. I got high and painted until my hands went numb. I did seven small paintings before sleeping for another 18 hours. It was so inspiring to be back on the musky streets of Amsterdam. I worked small and fast between rain squalls. I had all the right equipment on this trip including a pack stool. This little tug drew me to it. I get weak knees around puppies, babies, and little boats. Within 20 minutes of leaving my hostel, I was putting paint on canvas.
I separated this painting from the other crane paintings because of my interactions with the two workmen. One approached me and asked, "how much?" I told him. He rolled his eyes and said, "nice work but I don't get it". I asked him how much he made a day. None of my business . I asked him how much he was willing to pay. He thought $50 dollars would be fair when it was done. He would generously offer me less than $15 a day for my work. The other guy showed up with his notebook of drawings. We talked about art. He said he would look at his job site differently, now that he saw there was art in it. He was hesitant to call himself an artist. I believe there is only one requirement. You make art. If the first question is about price, generally, that is all they are interested in.
This painting brought me much joy. It was executed about two blocks from my coffee shop. This provided me a place to use the restroom and was easy to take breaks from painting. An old friend liked it and asked if The Texas Society of Engineers could use it on a T-shirt. I still see the shirts being worn on occasion. I was also invited to have a one person show at The Children's Museum in Austin. I felt like I had made a full circle, from beginning classes at the MFA in Houston @1962, to exhibiting in a children's museum. It is humbling what one can do with a little paint and a tractor.
I am fond of this painting but I must reshoot the photo of it. I am a bit of a cartoon in that I am terrible at the "business of art". This includes the onerous task of documenting my work. I have about 1000 documented paintings. This represents a fraction of the work I have created. Much of the work is unstretched and must be stretched to record it.
This grader sat aside Barton Springs Road near Zilker Park. I loved the scaffold just behind it.
Working near the entrance of the Austin Children's Museum was a thing of pure joy. The kids wonder and excitement made me think of my own formative art experiences. Childhood is a time of realizing the power and magic of art. I was blessed by parents that encouraged my talents. How they found the time to recognize and support me, with seven other kids, has always left me grateful. This encouragement was reenforced by educators in elementary, jr. high, and high school. To this day I cannot type because Ms. Gerund (god bless her), at Johnston Junior High petitioned to allow me two semesters of freshman art. My birthdays were always filled with art supplies and books. I wanted to be an artist at an easel. That is what I saw in those kids eyes....mini me.