Thursday, February 16, 2012

February Mural Part 1

It has been a couple of days since I got back, so I suppose I should fill you all in on my trip! It was relatively quick compared to my last drive south... just one bus this time and some visiting, dropping off/ picking up of stuff. Since the bus is still engine-less (working on it though) I took the subaru. It was faster, had heat and AWD. Unfortunately, I missed a lot of people I wanted to see, but I will be down again soon! More on that later though.

My first day, I drove from Burlington, CT to Salem, VA. I got a good jump on the day and it was pretty clear in the way of traffic. I headed down 84 until I hit I-81. My first stop was at a truck stop right outside of Scranton.

It seems to be an ideal spot to stop at and I have a pic of my bus here too. Last time it was a fair bit warmer though! I had to change into shorts. This time, I grabbed a soda and quickly headed back to the car. I made excellent time and was halfway through Virginia by 4:00.

I made it down to Salem Import Service in Salem, VA before it got dark. This is Mark and Sandra's shop on Florida St. Mark was kind enough to drive over a syncro vanagon to camp in for the night. He also brought me past his usual hang out spot for some beer and pizza. The next morning Mark and I took his super rare widebed vanagon singlecab out to drop off a client's new tires for mounting and then got breakfast. On my way out, Mark advised me to avoid the blasting on 81 South past Salem... something that saved me time this time but, I managed to totally forget on my way back home! Later that morning...:

And then Tennessee! This is the view from the TN welcome center, take note of the guitar shaped building in the background:

Finally, sometime around 3pm I got to Knoxville and managed to drive past Ed's driveway. Once I did find his driveway I didn't really leave until I was finished 12 days later. Well, I did leave once to get paint thinner, but that for less than 30 minutes. The rest of the time I spent mostly working. I did spend some time standing outside and admiring the view from the powerlines further over on the ridge... and not only the view, but the warmth, and the life! There were plants growing and the sun was a wonderful recharge after being in New England for months.

I was there for 12 days. Edwin was a very kind host and will make a great Paintedbus owner! He had a number of people come past while I was there. I met Gail and her dog Jesse. (Thanks to Gail for all of her cooking btw. To say she kept me well fed while I was working would be an understatement! I guess this is where all that southern hospitality comes in, right!)
I also met Edwin's son Chris and his girlfriend. They came by to check out the mural a couple of times.

Other than the occasional visitor, my routine was pretty predictable. Wake up, eat some breakfast, paint until dinner and then continue painting until I got tired. I did this for 11 days in a row and managed to average 15 hours of painting a day! All said and done, I think I ended up with around 175 hours into this mural. Ed was pleased and I got to add bus # 10 to my portfolio. Since the days ended up blurring together after a while, here is the process without dates... just kinda as it went!:


Here are the driver and passenger side murals. To get you looking, here are some things to look for:

8 fireflies
7 passenger side murals
2 drivers side murals
an owl with its eyes closed
4 painted vw symbols
a backup set of wings
a phrase (good luck)

The passenger side is based off the quaking aspen forests in the Northern Utah mountains. My grandparents had property up there when I was younger that left a pretty strong impression on me.

The drivers side is based off of the BOTheR campout in Erwin, TN I attended last time I was down.

The rear panel is based off of scenery in Monument Valley in UT, but with a lot of creative liberties taken!

That's a chaged face!

This time I also incorporated the wings into a logo. Ed identified with a compass, so I used that in the design as well. It was a fun substitute for using the vw logo. I also put a little "10" in the center to signify that Ed's bus was my 10th paintedbus concept.

Edwin with his new Paintedbus

Part 2, "the ride home" tomorrow!


  1. Ken, absolutely gorgeous. You can make any bus look like a million dollars!

  2. thank you carole! I have more to do this year, maybe in CA ;)

  3. That's fabulous! Great job! I'm thinking about painting my own car and was wondering what kind of paint you used?

  4. 2nd on the paint type question. I had been thinking about letting my girls have a go at our Westy with some water-based paint, but your artwork has me thinking about something more permanent. Beautiful.