House Portraits by Pete


Recent Work

Friday, March 6, 2009

I've been doing a number of new watercolor paintings of scenes along Rte 66. Please keep checking my gallery on the website to see what I've done lately. Thanks for your interest and feel
free to let me know what you think.


A Living Road

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

All kinds of people are interested in Rte.66 for different reasons. For some it's nostalgia, and I have to admit that nostalgia is mixed in with my emotions too- remembering how things used to be. Others have a historical interest and spend hours pouring over old maps, checking out different alignments of the route and exploring abandoned remnants. Others are interested in Rte 66 because of it's role in our culture, the people movements as the West was populated, the role of the automobile in our culture and the cultural mystique of the Mother Road.

I am interested in Rte 66 for all of the above reasons to some extent, but I'm also captured by a thought of Rte.66 being a metaphor for the road of life that we all are travelling. It's the road less travelled, it's the road of slowing down and taking time to enjoy the trip and not just getting to a destination quick, it's the road of living in the moment rather than in the past. For this reason I am painting pictures of the road as it now exists, not as it did in its heyday. It can still be driven, it still exists and it speaks to me about the meaning of life. It's a living road, not a relic.


Rte.66 in LA County

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Many times people travelling Rte 66 either skip Los Angeles County or rush through it, feeling that it is just too daunting to fight the traffic. However, Rte 66 in Los Angeles County and in the city of Los Angeles in particular, is full of interesting and historic sites for the adventurous soul who is willing to take the time. I recommend the book "Rte.66 in Los Angeles County" by Scott Piotrowski, a friend of mine who has explored the route thoroughly. He points out many interesting spots and also helps you not to get lost or confused. The book is available at the Rte.66 Museum in Barstow at the old Harvey House train station, and also at the Victorville Rte.66 Museum on D Street.

If you skip Los Angeles County you'll miss beautiful views of the San Gabriel Mountains, eateries like LeRoy's in Monrovia, Rod's in Arcadia and Barney's in West Hollywood, vintage architecture like The Aztec Hotel in Monrovia, the Pasadena City Hall, The Union Station in Los Angeles, famous sites like The Griffith Observatory, the Southwest Museum, and the Hollywood Sign. I'm just naming a few. I've painted many places in LA County, but I still have many more planned. Check out my site to see what I've done so far and check back every so often to see what has been added.


The End of the Road

Thursday, May 24, 2007

When people think of Rte.66, the end of the road is thought of as the Santa Monica Pier, and for that reason I painted a watercolor of the pier signage with it's surrounding park. The pier signage is a symbolic gateway from my vantage point, the beginning point of my west to east series of scenes along the route.

In actuality, the end of Rte.66 was a few blocks away and never reached the ocean. In the earlier years of Rte.66, the Mother Road ended at 7th and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, in the heart of the theatre district. Later it was extended to Santa Monica.

For travelers from the east in a bygone era, Santa Monica stood for the golden promise of California, of limitless possibilities. For me, it stands for the beginning of my journey into Rte.66


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.