During my years of painting and selling, I had many requests for prints. The subjects ranged from outhouses to Fancy Theatres. As I collected my subjects and painted them, I started painting them in sets of four. One of those sets included Gas Pumps. They included Texaco, Shell, Gulf, American, Sinclair and Marathon. As you can see, my sets of four grew as more requests came in.
One of those pumps I found, was in central Indiana, north of Indianapolis. Many farmers had their own pumps for the farm equipment. This one was behind the farm house, out by the barn. The old pump up gas pump, with the glass top was still in pretty good condition, however you can tell they no longer use it, since the rubber filler hose was missing. It was called a “Gravity Pump”. You pumped the gas into the glass top, for the amount you wanted and then when you were ready, you opened the valve and the gravity forced the gas through the hose into the equipment. Several of my paintings included gravity pumps.
The Marathon pump was conveniently located, right by the entrance to the fields. With Winter at hand, there was not much activity.
It was the 1950’s, when Neon, Milk Shakes and cool cars came on the scene. In the midst of it all, we had heard of a new restaurant that had burgers, fries and shakes. You couldn’t go inside to eat and they didn’t have car hops that brought it out to your car. The way it worked was, you walked up to the window on the outside of the building and ordered your food, they prepared it, put it in a bag and you either sat in your car or took it home to eat. They called it “Fast Food”. The even had a sign that told you how many hamburgers they had sold.
These places started in Chicago and were popping up in other states. In January of 1959, the first local McDonald’s opened just one block from the dividing line between South Bend and Mishawaka, Indiana, on Lincolnway West on the Mishawaka side.
As I was traveling and painting for Art Shows, the pubic was excited about my diner and restaurant pictures. Since I did several shows in this area, and was raised in South Bend, I decided to include McDonald, as it would have looked, when it first opened here.
While on the road in in Louisville Kentucky, at St. James Court, one of the top shows in the country, we were approached by a family, who’s father had just retired and sold his collection of a large number of McDonald’s restaurants he had built up, during his restaurant years. The children wanted to pool their money and buy him the painting as a retirement gift.
The McDonald’s painting was my first experience with Classic Cars and Neon, which became a popular theme in later paintings.