Whiting Bros Sign
Painted for my father, Lon Haldeman
From a photograph I took near Grants, New Mexico
My father is a connoisseur of all things rusted and fallen by the wayside. Most years he spends time traveling Route 66 and other abandoned stretches of highway, and in 2006 we took a trip down Route 66 (from Chicago to L.A.) and stopped to snap this photo.
The best part about painting this image was the peeling paint and rust marks that I could have spent many more hours working on. The sky gradient was also really fun. The worst part was the sage brush, which was not very well-defined in the photograph and gave me a headache while studying it. Perhaps I should have enlarged the photograph. In reality, I ran out of time, finished the painting hours before the family Christmas party, and in the future I should start making gifts months before they must be completed.
Painting something figurative and geometric was a new challenge for me. Organic shapes are much more flexible; you have more room for mistakes / interpretation. It took me many sketches and edits to get the letters the right size, and the sign still feels a little wonky. I am satisfied with the outcome and know that I can improve my technique next time.
Whiting Brothers was a gas station chain that operated from 1917 through the 1980’s on the southwest region of Route 66. This website has a lot of information on Whiting Bros history.