About Mary Anne
My love of our uniquely American road culture is born out of my childhood. When I was a kid, my Dad took pains to plan our summer “drive vacations” so we would experience the entire United States (having taken in every National Park and historic site). What an accomplish-ment! Those memories filter through the cobwebs of many intervening years of driving the interstates as quickly as possible to get from one destination to the next, with pit stops at large mall-like rest stops.
In the 1950’s post-war America there was a sense of adventure connected to setting out on a “road trip”. The highways invited families to explore vacation play-grounds from sea to shining sea and celebrate the rich diversity of landscapes and traditions. Family-owned motels, restaurants, and diners catered to travelers with their regional themes and local food specialties.
The beginning of the end came in 1956 with the advent of the Interstate Highway system. Simultaneously, “modern” hotel-motel chains such as Holiday Inn fascinated travelers, which was the beginning of the end for the old roadways and their accompanying small businesses. Some relics still remain, abandoned, fallen into decay or torn down to make room for a new strip mall or parking lot.
I have enjoyed documenting and painting some of the tourist areas where the buildings and signage of the past have been preserved, and still inspire: the Maine coastline, the Jersey Shore, Cape Cod, the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, the Apache Trail in Arizona, southern and central Florida, the Oregon Coastline, and ski areas in Utah and Idaho to name a few. And just this past January, Richard and I hit the mother load of roadside culture when we traversed almost the entire state of Arizona on the cherished Route 66. This will now be one of my major “bucket list” goals – to travel the entire route! And you will see many more paintings coming on line at this site (and stories on my blog) from my #66 journey!
The concept of “vanishing America” is not a new one. Many artists and photographers have found visions of our past and the interface with today’s world compelling. What we call “America” is always in flux, changing and evolving. The “Americana” I refer to is the roadside culture I grew up in. I started this work in the early 1980’s immortalizing a number of Florida motels and as time has passed my fascination with this theme has continued to grow. I consider these paintings part of an ever-evolving body of work. I hope you enjoy them.
I also have added a “photo” tab to the website to share some of my favorite pics of old signs and roadside attractions that I haven’t had time to immortalize on canvas yet. Maybe one of these days I’ll get to them all!
Check out my blog too, for the telling of the stories that I’ve had time to gather.
If you know of a great local roadside story and want to share it, contact me at email@example.com and I’ll be pleased to include it in my blog! Happy Trails!