Sunday, September 27, 2015



32405 County Road 41C, south of Steamboat Springs
One-room schools played a major role in the development of education in the United States: In 1918, approximately 200,000 one-teacher elementary schools served students living in outlying areas from the age of six to sixteen. At one time Routt County had 70 one-room schoolhouses; in 1916, the County had 58 schoolhouses and 45 school districts. Mrs. Emma Hull Peck was elected the first Superintendent of School District #26 in 1896, when less than 3,000 people lived in Routt County. The wife of a homesteader and pioneer politician and mother of four children, she also taught school throughout the year. When she retired in 1920, she could call by name more than one third of the County’s more than 2,000 school children. The Hilton Gulch School, one of two rural schools that comprised District #26, opened in 1917 and consolidated with the Steamboat Springs School District at the end of the 1954 term. Prior to it becoming a private residence, the school was significant to the social and cultural development of the area by serving as a gathering place for quilting guilds, spelling bees, concerts, political caucuses, box socials, church revivals, funerals, and weekend dances. One local resident recalls, “The music was portable and local. We took up a collection, put 25 cents in a hat and danced ‘til two o’clock. And then, if we wanted to go dance all night, we took up another collection. We actually wore the floor out in the Hilton Gulch School. It actually fell in when people were square dancing.” In addition to the school, the site originally contained a teacherage, a shed, and an outhouse. The building continues to serve as a visual reminder of the pioneer lifestyle and the focal position that it held for the area as it sits prominently at a crossroads, still retains its bell tower and original bell, and essentially retains its architectural integrity. 
These small 6" X 6" paintings are being displayed as a triptych
at SAM for the Plein Air paint out show. I was awarded the Historic Routt County Award
along with a gorgeous ribbon and some cash.
Johnny Walker made the presentation and to tell the truth I was so surprised by the
award I can't tell you a thing he said. Something along the lines that these three
buildings represent the heritage of Routt County. 
His speech was so eloquent and thoughtful - I am honored to have my work chosen. 
Thanks for following - last week was a great journey painting Routt county!
The Hayden Granary is a historic site purchased by the Delaney family in 2009 and has been nominated for placement on the National Register of Historic Places while currently listed on both Colorado State and Routt County Registers of Historic Places.

The Granary is in process of transformation to a multi-functional property with an event center, artist studio/gallery, local food cooperative, office space and coffee house while honoring and enhancing the heritage of this iconic landmark in the Hayden community. The property has been a gathering place for the Community of Hayden and West Routt County since 1917 and continues to join our community today.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Secret spot in downtown Steamboat Springs. 
I will never divulge this secret garden of cars and trucks.
It's heaven to me.
8" x 8"
oil on panel
I'm hoping this painting will be shown at SAM(Steamboat Art Museum)
for the plein air show starting tomorrow. Turns out I 
painted too many paintings - I'll have to see how many
they will allow. I'm hoping since the paintings are small they
will allow all my work. Doesn't take up much space.
Thanks and have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, September 21, 2015


6"H X 18"W
Oil on board
This is my first painting for the Plein Air Paint Out this week. 
The Steamboat Art Museum is hosting this event with an opening on 
Friday - September 25 5pm till 8pm
I hope to have a number of paintings finished for the show
but it's been a slow start. Will post as soon as the paintings are completed.
See the story below about this great barn - I love this barn!
Thanks MB

26085 County Road 14, Steamboat Springs

John Laramore built his large white Western or prairie style barn in 1922, when Routt County’s agricultural economy was flourishing. John was a member of the second generation of a Routt County pioneer family. His father, William Laramore, first settled in Yampa in 1883; he moved north to Sidney with his family ten years later. His son John bought property nearby in 1914, and together they shared in the operations of their ranches, raising cattle, dairy products, wheat, hay, and other produce. Only four miles from Steamboat Springs and close to the Moffat Railroad, the Laramores had a ready market for their products. John ranched the land for nearly fifty years, the longest of any of its owners. The lower level of the barn was set up for a dairy operation on one side with animal stalls and pens on the other side as well an enclosed area for chickens. Upstairs is a large hay loft with a hay trolley and large hook to grab the hay and haul it inside. The barn is one of the few wood frame barns from the 1920s still standing in the environs of Steamboat Springs so it has become a prominent local landmark and reminder of the County’s agricultural roots. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015


I finished 12 paintings this week for my special project(more on that later)
 I have no photos of those paintings due to dark days and rain.
I thought I'd throw something fun your way for the weekend!
I think this car is parked in Rawlins, Wyoming 
but I could be wrong - I've been wrong once before????!!
I took this photo in 2009 on our trip back from scamping in Yellowstone.
 I had a great week painting and starting this saturday I will be participating in the 
Steamboat Art Museum Paint out. I will post if I get some good stuff.
Thanks a bunch and have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


This is a 1956 Chevy Nomad. This painting went through many titles - in 1956 Chevy advertised 
this vehicle as "THE HOT ONE" because the boxy new Chevy was crisp, clean and thoroughly 
modern-looking. Nomads like Bel Airs came fully loaded - and the beat goes on
 I was going to name the painting the Hot One or the FAHA(Federal Aid Highway Act)
but somewhere on the unreliable wikipedia page Eisenhower referred to the highway
act as "The Grand Plan" hence the vanity plate that really didn't exist in 1956.
Artistic license one more time. This might be too much info but some of you may enjoy 
a little banter. Thanks for looking and waiting again. 
New project on the way and it's much smaller.
Let's hope for more posts.
I have not had much time to respond to all my emails about this car but thanks for all the thoughts.
These old cars are pure art and important reminders of Car Culture in the US of A.
My dad bought an Edsel - that's another story!

THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM(abridged version full version below)

On June 29, 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. The bill created a 41,000-mile “National System of Interstate and Defense Highways” that would, according to Eisenhower, eliminate unsafe roads, inefficient routes, traffic jams and all of the other things that got in the way of “speedy, safe transcontinental travel.” At the same time, highway advocates argued, “in case of atomic attack on our key cities, the road net [would] permit quick evacuation of target areas.” For all of these reasons, the 1956 law declared that the construction of an elaborate expressway system was “essential to the national interest.”

National Interstate and Defense Highways Act (1956)

Popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 established an interstate highway system in the United States. The movement behind the construction of a transcontinental superhighway started in the 1930s when President Franklin D. Roosevelt expressed interest in the construction of a network of toll superhighways that would provide more jobs for people in need of work during the Great Depression. The resulting legislation was the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1938, which directed the chief of the Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) to study the feasibility of a six-route toll network. But with America on the verge of joining the war in Europe, the time for a massive highway program had not arrived. At the end of the war, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 funded highway improvements and established major new ground by authorizing and designating, in Section 7, the construction of 40,000 miles of a "National System of Interstate Highways."

When President Dwight D. Eisenhower took office in January 1953, however, the states had only completed 6,500 miles of the system improvements. Eisenhower had first realized the value of good highways in 1919, when he participated in the U.S. Army's first transcontinental motor convoy from Washington, DC, to San Francisco. Again, during World War II, Eisenhower saw the German advantage that resulted from their autobahn highway network, and he also noted the enhanced mobility of the Allies, on those same highways, when they fought their way into Germany. These experiences significantly shaped Eisenhower's views on highways and their role in national defense. During his State of the Union Address on January 7, 1954, Eisenhower made it clear that he was ready to turn his attention to the nation's highway problems. He considered it important to "protect the vital interest of every citizen in a safe and adequate highway system."
Between 1954 and 1956, there were several failed attempts to pass a national highway bill through the Congress. The main controversy over the highway construction was the apportionment of the funding between the Federal Government and the states. Undaunted, the President renewed his call for a "modern, interstate highway system” in his 1956 State of the Union Address. Within a few months, after considerable debate and amendment in the Congress, The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 emerged from the House-Senate conference committee. In the act, the interstate system was expanded to 41,000 miles, and to construct the network, $25 billion was authorized for fiscal years 1957 through 1969. During his recovery from a minor illness, Eisenhower signed the bill into law at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on the 29th of June. Because of the 1956 law, and the subsequent Highway Act of 1958, the pattern of community development in America was fundamentally altered and was henceforth based on the automobile.




Tuesday, September 1, 2015


I can't tell you how many days this was because I
stopped keeping track. All I can tell you is that it
was slow - slow for me anyway.

If you don't know I'm left handed so I typically work
right to left to not smudge my previous work. Again
this is not written in stone - it can change but for the
most part it's how it comes together.

No shadow here but I blocked it in. Had to think about
it for a day before I knew what I wanted.

Here's the photo of the 1956 Chevy Nomad
This car is a work of art!
Thanks for hanging in there I hope to post a finished
painting soon with some close ups for you.
Have a great weekend! 
Happy painting or whatever you're into.
Thanks MB


Here's the next half hour.
Here's the next day - doesn't look like much progress
but that's it!


This painting is taking too long so I thought I'd give 
you something if you're interested. Here's my palette of
colors for this painting. I like to make sure I have every color
I need because I don't want to introduce a new color halfway
through the painting - it never works for me visually. 
I have 4 new brushes for this 30"H X 40"W painting
my palette is a piece of glass on top of gray chipboard
so I can use my scraper to clean the glass periodically.
My medium is walnut oil and nothing else this is
 my non-toxic approach to oil painting. 
I wear gloves religiously and try not to slosh paint every where.
I find this approach works best for me. I don't waste paint or time.
Although this painting is taking forever - go figure!

This is what it looks like after the first hour.
I try to work in hour blocks - take the dogs for a walk
around the block and set up another hour of work. 
This helps to get away from the image and kind of start fresh
on my return from my short 10 minute walk.

This what my messy palette looks like. I've found
that if I clean my palette every hour or so my colors 
stay cleaner and brighter. So before I begin again I 
clean this mess and start painting again.
This should've been the first photo. Here's
my setup. Photos to the right of the canvas for reference 
my matt is a camping pad - easily moved from side to
side as I work my way across the canvas.
My painting cart is on rollers as well so it's
easy to move as well. Makes for a great painting
experience. I only paint standing up - I've tried sitting down
but it doesn't work for me. I need to step back after each stroke
 and take a look - it's exhausting but it's an important part of my process. 
I don't wear my glasses to paint - thank goodness I'm near 
sighted - therefore I don't have to squint to paint.
Thanks for waiting - I can't believe how long this painting is taking.  
Go Figure!