The year was 2003 and the Number One Art Festival in the Country was the Coconut Grove Arts Festival in Miami, Florida. I had exhibited there once before. When I was accepted for this show, I was asked if I wanted to demonstrate my work at one of the schools in the Miami area.
I thought that would be fun, so I accepted, but was given a time frame to complete a full painting in the classroom. I chose a middle school in southwest Miami and had several phone discussions with the art teacher at the school.
Since I had a number of paintings with a diner theme, I decided to paint a related subject, that took less time to demonstrate. The Mustard and Ketchup painting was the first in a series of diner table-settings paintings. I was impressed by the students interest and the questions they asked during the class.
This was an experience that I will cherish as part of my artistic career.
Located in Cartersville, Georgia, at the corner of East Main Street (Hwy 41) and Gilmer Street,the “4-Way”, as the locals called it, has been there since 1931. I painted the painting in about 1984, when I was exhibiting in art shows in the area. It was one of my most popular paintings of the time.
The 4-Way was small, but it had front doors and a side door. Before desegregation, the black folks were not allowed in the front, so they had their own eating area, where they use the side door. as you entered through the front doors, you noticed there were no tables, just 8 stools across the front of the counter. They may have had 2 or 3 at the end of the counter, but the always seemed to be full. Their menu was simple with hot dogs, hamburgers and fried chicken. Their gravy burgers, you had to eat with a fork. I enjoyed watching them make the chili dogs, The cook lined up all the hot dogs up and down his arm and look a ladle and filled them with the chili.
The 4-way was not a place for a leisure lunch with friends and conversation. When you finished eating, you had to leave, to let the next person come in and have a place to sit. It was quite an experience.
It is located just off I-75 about 40 miles north of Atlanta. It’s well worth the experience.
When exhibiting at Art Shows and Festivals, I tried to have a painting that the locals could identify with, so I would scan the area after the shows and take pictures of interesting places. I had been in the show in Wyandotte, Michigan for years and painted several places near there.
One of the places I painted, was the A & W Drive-in, located in Taylor, Michigan. It was a typical design for that restaurant in the 1950’s that I remembered. It was a 24″ x 36″ painting, on stretched canvas. With a little humor, you will notice the driver of the corvette is parked in a no parking zone and the car hop is paying more attention to him, instead of the customers.