House Portraits by Pete


More Than just Nostalgia

Friday, April 27, 2007

On my last post, which began this series, I shared about what got me started painting scenes along Rte.66. It has to do with my memories and imagination. But I'm not just being romantic and sentimental, although that is part of it. I'm also hoping to explore thoughts about life. I'm viewing Rte.66 as a metaphor for life: The road of life that we're all travelling. This thought is in my mind as I paint. Many of the paintings include a human character, a traveller along the road of life, a pilgrim. He often has a backpack, and sometimes a walking stick. This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through. So, anyway, it's not just Americana and nostalgia, it's a way for me to explore and express ideas. I'll share my thoughts as I travel along the road of life.


Why I'm Painting Scenes Along Rte.66

Monday, April 23, 2007

My name is Pete Morris and I'm doing a series of paintings, mostly watercolors, along Rte.66. You can view what I've done so far by going to my website: I am beginning on the West Coast where I live and moving east along the route as I have time and opportunity. Most of what I've done so far is in California, but I have done a few Arizona and New Mexico scenes. I have travelled as far as Amarillo, Texas, and will be doing a painting of the "Cadillac Ranch" in the near future. Eventually I plan to reach Chicago and to have completed a good number of paintings.

So why am I doing this series? The idea came into my head about 15 years ago I think, when my wife Susie bought me a wonderful book by Michael Wallis: on Route 66: The Mother Road. I devoured the book. It captured my imagination and I began to daydream about travelling Rte.66 and painting what I saw. Memories came flooding back about a trip to Oklahoma from Los Angeles when I was 6 years old along Rte.66. It was my parents, my twin brother Jonathan, my little sister Muriel, and my uncle Ernie travelling along in what seemed like a snail's pace in a brownish '50 Chevrolet. The kids sat in the back seat and pulled out stuffing from the dilapitated seat cushions.

I remember vividly the things I saw with six-year-old eyes: Indian trading posts, petrified rock and a nice lady who explained that this was created by everthing being under water a long time ago, the Painted Desert in Arizona, little markets with gas pumps in front, miles of yellow flatlands edged by barbwire in the Texas Panhandle, a bungalow court motel where we had a hair-raising experience with bedbugs, and passing through Albuquerque on a steamy day.

I've been a lover of roadtrips ever since, Rte.66 being the primary road in my imagination.