Monday, May 27, 2013

Ode to a Van

The time has come to sell the van and buy a car to tow the Boler.  Every morning when I get in my van to go to work the smell brings me right back to living on the road.  It was my home and transportation for six months and although it served it’s purpose well I didn’t intend for it to be my regular, everyday vehicle for driving. A car will get much better mileage while working and saving to get back out there.

Through rain, dust storms and getting stuck in both gravel and sand, it never broke down or busted a tire. It pulled itself up mountains and stayed smooth on endless stretches of highway from Nova Scotia to California with barely a complaint. As you can imagine, I love my van, and former home, and hate to see it go. Because of that I rounded up all the photos I took of the Barter Van while on our journey and am posting an ode to her. May she find a loving home and more adventures in her future.
spencer missouri
Spencer, Missouri
Ozarkland, Missouri
steak n shake
Steak n Shake, Indiana
palo duro
Palo Duro, New Mexico
lucky discount
Unsure of location.
Texola, Texas
New Mexico grave
Graveyard somewhere in NM
painted desert 1
Painted Desert, Arizona
painted desert 2
sunset crater
Sunset Crater, Arizona
Sky city dinner
Outside Sky City, New Mexico
desert inn Holbrook
Holbrook, Arizona
houma louisiana
Houma, Louisiana
stuck in sand
Imperial Sand Dunes, California
monument lake copy
Everglades, Florida
Zion National Park, Utah.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Embassy Towers.

Last night I was invited to show and talk about my work at Embassy Towers in Halifax, NS. The condominium building was built in the 1960s as apartments and became condos in the 1980s. I have the feeling that that place has a million stories behind its security-manned door.

There are four large pieces remaining from my most recent exhibition, Roadside America, and Argyle Fine Art was invited to showcase some of their artists this month. She asked me if I'd be interested in having a small show there and of course I said yes. I would say a good 30 people came to listen to me talk a little about my trip and how the work came to be. I admit I'm always nervous whenever I have to talk in public. My knees get a bit shaky and my temperature rises a bazillion degrees but I often get the chance to talk to some great people when I 'm done rambling. I've been told I seem calm and natural when I do an interview or talk so I must be a better actress than I thought. As I was rambling, ahem, talking, I found myself telling the story about Bob at the Skyliner Motel. I ended up getting teary-eyed and had to stop. I have only told it once before and I teared up that time as well. I don't know if I've always been like this but, although it can be embarrassing, I'm not ashamed of my empathy. I think if we all had more compassion and empathy for our fellow humans our lives would be that much richer. I'm so thankful for who I am and where I am in life. I will just have to embrace the fact that I'm a stereotypical cry-y girl if it means I get to stay an empathetic and compassionate person.

After my talk I met some wonderful people and had more emotional conversations. The demographic at this opening was completely different than at my other shows. The age range was much older and I'm convinced something happens when you reach 50; you no longer care about pretensions and just are who you are. At one point I was talking to three ladies at once about racism, creationism, raising children, and of course travel. It's times like these I don't want to talk about myself at all and would rather listen to their stories. The best thing about this group is they actually remember Route 66 and what it was like to travel, slowly, on the old highways. They could relate to my pieces the way people my age, including myself, can't.

At the very end of the evening I talked to a husband and wife for quite some time. They had done it all, pursuing all their interests, and were very inspiring. The man, who's name escapes me, is a folk musician and historian who has been able to make a living following his passions and I always find these type of people magnetic. He said he was thankful every day for the way his career was 'handed to him'. Because I often skip the small talk and head for the meat of the conversation, I propositioned  him a deep question. How do you deal with what I call artists guilt? By that I mean, I often struggle with the fact I am so privileged in that I am able to pursue a life in the arts when others are struggling for food and shelter. It often feels like a very selfish pursuit. His answer was, you never know how you're going to affect someone, and you may never know. He told me of a story where someone approached him and told him a song he wrote back in the 70s changed their life. He said, as long as I stay true to myself it's bound to make an impact somewhere. I guess I'll just have to hope something I do affects someone, somewhere, even if I never know about it.

So, as an end note, I'd like to direct people to this article from the Guardian UK newspaper. If you've been following me from the beginning you'll remember what motivated me to get on the road in the first place. It's what continues to motivate me to get back out there; having regrets when I'm elderly about what I didn't do. I'm more fearful of staying still and not taking the risks.

Monday, May 20, 2013

More renos. Sanding comes next.

It seems I do nothing these days but work on the Boler, which consequently I am perfectly happy doing. The “problem” is I hadn’t intended on being in Nova Scotia for this long before heading back out on the road. I put the word problem in quotations because I can hardly complain about my situation. I have the luxury of living with friends, paying low rent and working for my sister while keeping my trailer in their backyard to pick away at whenever I want. I didn’t, however, plan on investing all the money I made from my last exhibit on my new home without having a car to tow it or money to travel with…but all in good time. There’s no way I can complain about any of this. Instead I just keep moving forward towards my goal.

The question now is when do I stop ripping it apart?  These trailers can be stripped down to nothing and then rebuilt again. The more I take out the more I want to take out. One thing leads to another and then another….and so on. I have to say, I am enjoying feeling like a handyman, even though things are usually much harder than they first appear to be. There’s barely a screw or rivet that comes out without a fight. Most need to be drilled, ground or pounded out to be removed, but I guess that’s what happens when you buy a trailer that’s as old as you are! Here are some photos of the progress:
side vents side vents removed
furnace pipe
Old propane furnace pipe
furnace pipe removed
cupboard and vents
Pre clean-up and vent removal
cupboard and vents done
Post clean-up
boler logo removed
boler logo
Even the Boler sign has layers of paint on it.
removing lockstrip
Removing the lock strip to get the window out
removing plexi window
Removing the plexi window
roof vent
Roof vent mess.
roof vent out
Roof vent removed
AND CURTAINS!!! (because I'm nowhere near ready to put curtains up)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Boler Rollercoaster

These past couple of days I've been excited, overwhelmed, furious and about ready to throw in the towel on my Boler renovations. I'm not entirely sure what made me think I could buy an old camper and renovate it; I don't even know my way around the tool shed. Working with a drill, to remove rivets, almost drove me over the edge. I thought I could just pick one up and start using it like a pro, not so. However, with some perseverance I became a rivet-drilling fiend and am now comfortable with the drill. Phew.
window outside
Window with rivet covers
window outside rivets
Rivet covers removed
window detail
Window detail
window rivets detail
Rivet detail

Three of the windows need to be removed to fix the cranks and  leaks. I started taking the first one out with much trepidation. The first photo above is the window without the rivet coverings removed. Silly me thought there were only four rivets to drill out, until I removed those plastic covers. Once off I was faced with 30+ rivets for each window. Having to remove that many rivets was bound to either make me give up or turn me into a pro. Thank heavens I managed to get a hang of the drill.
removed window whole removed window apart

Once I managed to get the window out I had the task of taking it apart. The screws holding the frame together were so old and and rusty I ended up breaking the heads off two, leaving the shank stuck way down in the canal, making it impossible to use those canals to put the window back together. But, that’s another problem for another time. I still have the rest of the window and accessories to remove from the shell before it gets painted. Here’s some images of what I’ve done to the outside thus far.
awning rail whole
awning rail detail
Awning rivet detail
plugs caulking rmoved
Caulking removed reveals all the colors it has been.
outside stripped
Window, awning rail, table rail and rain guard over door removed.
removed aluminum
Removed pieces that need to be stripped of layers of paint.
My tool box, so far.