Friday, 23 June 2017

Road less traveled...another moment on the Mother Road

Shamrock, Texas+Route 66+Road Trip+Amercia+American Landscape+Acrylic painting+Nicola McLean
'Road less traveled' - acrylic on canvas 30cm x 40cm

So, I'm back working on my 'moments on the Mother Road' series. I'm still not doing them in any discernible order - certainly if I was to do the road trip in the same order as I'm doing these paintings then I'd be all over the place! So far, I've gone from California right back to Chicago and now I've jumped to Texas. 

Close up you can see the headlights of cars on the interstate

I don't suppose it matters what order I paint them in, I'm really just going by what scene appeals to me at the time and I had another canvas which I'd already put acrylic modelling paste on which just happened to lend itself perfectly to the rough, cracked road surface of this scene which S captured on camera at sunset just outside of Shamrock, Texas.

Credit - S McLean
the original photo of Route 66 just outside Shamrock, Texas

This was an early section of Route 66 and was made of segmented concrete. The guide book which I read as we drove the route described how your tyres make a wonderful 'thump ka-thump, ka-thump' noise as you drive over the joins in the concrete and we were delighted to discover they really do.

I mentioned before that during our trip we listened to local radio stations along the way, made a list of all the songs we heard a lot on the road and then created a playlist when we got back home - music is so evocative of a time and place and every time we hear those songs now they take us right back to Route 66.

Shamrock Texas+acrylic painting+landscape art+Route 66+Interstate+American Road trip+Nicola McLean

Why am I telling you this? Well, I wanted to give each painting a title inspired by the songs we listened to, either the title of the song or a lyric from it. I have already used this title for a painting I did a few years ago but because it was the name of a song from our trip (by Lauren Alaina) and because it seemed really appropriate given that this highway has been superseded by the interstate (which you can see off to the right in the horizon in my painting)I decided to use it again (and I've used the American spelling just to keep it country!)

Next up I'm crossing the border into New Mexico to try my hand at one of my favourite photos from the trip, the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari.

Credit: S McLean

I'm using a larger canvas for this one - 30 x 20 inches which fits perfectly on the new A2 desk easel I treated myself to last week!

My shiny new desk easel!

I've have just started by using acrylic spray paints to loosely colour the background.  I'm going back to Ireland for a week on Monday so I won't get any more done on it until I get back but I'm really looking forward to this one and the challenge of painting that iconic neon sign!

Thanks for popping by, I know I'm a bit sporadic with my blogging these days.  I've noticed that a lot of people who used to blog regularly no longer do - do you think that perhaps Instagram and other social media sites are replacing art blogging? I know it's certainly easier to just post a quick photo on Instagram than write and edit a blog post every week although every time I think I'll stop blogging I feel compelled to keep it going a while longer - it's been nearly 7 years since I started my blog so it seems a shame to stop even if it is a little less well tended to than it used to be!


  1. Wonderful painting! Have fun with the new easel. Happy PPF, Valerie

  2. Can't wait to see your neon sign!! Love the road series, you are doing such a fantastic job of capturing the highways of your travels.

  3. Oh, I love the highway scene of Route 66 in Texas. So beautiful. I don't do instagram so I hope you keep on blogging. It would be sad not to be able to see your work.

  4. Impressive road art. Have a wonderful traveling ahead.
    Happy PPF ❣

  5. wow Nic your road trip series is brilliant-such awesome colors and perspectives!! Looking forward to seeing the latest one too.
    I for one hope you continue blogging. although alot of people use instagram and other social media more I don't. I still love the connections of blogland. Have a wonderful time in Ireland, and happy PPF!

  6. Love series and this road trip series serves to show us all that our choices are limitless. Who would think to replicate highway scenes? These are wonderful! and I celebrate your creativity. Happy PPF

  7. that are wonderfuls pictures!
    Greetings Elke

  8. I so love the colours you use in your art! It's such a beautiful painting ... Can't wait to see what colours you'll use for that Blue Swallow Motel. What a fun way to re-live your roadtrip! I also think Instagram is taking over. I have planned on making an account on there since last year already, but for some reason I don't do it. Must be it's not appealing to me, so for now I'll stay with blogging. It's a more personal kind of sharing I think ... Enjoy Ireland! I hope the grey clouds over Scotland will drift away soon!

  9. I am always impressed by everything you create, listening to the backstory makes even more interesting!! Love how you get your texture..and how each road lends it's hand to something different! Can't wait to see the others you create!! Stay with blogging, it will be like a journal to look back on the pieces you've created in case you forget down the road!! I've looked back on bits I've written and at times feel quite surprised!! Enjoy!

    Hugs Giggles

  10. I love the vivid colors you use in your paintings. Gorgeous! :)

  11. What a fabulous post..lovely to see your travels..awesome shot of the Blue Swallow Motel! Your art is gorgeous and powerful..beautiful work, great pieces! Love your easel too!
    Happy PPF
    Victoria #38

  12. Nik these are simply fabulous! I am looking forward to seeing the NM painting finished. You have such a beautiful way with colors.

  13. the colours in that painting are wonderful! and you created a great texture, works perfect for the road. nice combination of the old road and a hint of the new one

    looking forward to seeing what you do with the light picture :)

    and it is easier to post on instagram but its nice to be able to post a longer post on a blog if needed. blogs are not as popular as they were but not dead yet :)

  14. I love this one Nic! The texture is really effective! And It's great to see it hanging on a wall too. I have one of those table easels. They are so handy. I use mine almost all the time, apart from the painting I'm doing now which is way too big!!

  15. I just came from Neesie's site and wanted to tell you that I think you're the sweetest woman ever. That is just the best gift you could ever have sent her. Hugs to you, I'm glad to know such an awesome woman and artist.

  16. Oh wow, the texture on your road is awesome! I also love the colorful rocks in the post below. I am also a bit sporadic in blogland these days... I miss the community and the encouragement dearly... but I have a hard time keeping up with life, painting, posting and visiting... it is a full season of raising teenagers for me😳, yet I will keep grabbing moments of sanity through art and this art community ... sporadic as the moments may be! Thanks for visiting and encouraging me!


Your comments always colour me happy! Thank you for popping by.


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