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Southern Pacific Daylight (Union Station)
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Showed at the The Other Art Fair
Painting: Oil on Canvas.
"Southern Pacific Daylight (Union Station)" is from my recent series of paintings - "Mystery Train." This is a study in time travel.
The painting reminds me that my grandfather Arthur Desch, worked as a fireman stoking coal in steam engines before he advanced to train engineer on the Jersey Central Line. Parties and family gatherings in my grandparent’s home brought the rhythms of the rails home. In their clean but Jersey dank basement, the sounds of railroad workers echoed in the music my aunts and cousins played in the shadows of the train lines outside. From Junior Parker, to Elvis Presley, to Bob Dylan, to Johnny Cash, to The Band, to Bruce Springsteen, to Michael McDermott, to arts writer Greil Marcus, to film writer and director Jim Jarmusch, the enduring mythos of America and its legacy has been wrapped in the blues notes of the song Mystery Train.
Recently, while flipping through my mom’s carefully tended scrapbook, I found black and white memories of my family’s yearnings, struggles, and triumphs. Whispers of cellar mysteries found their way back into my thoughts and dreams. Today as I paint, a current song by Gary Clark Jr., "When My Train Pulls In", propels me back into memories of earlier sounds of passion and propulsion. My current series of paintings, Mystery Train, is steeped in these powerful echoes of those machine days.
Southern Pacific 4449 is the only surviving example of Southern Pacific Railroad's (SP) (today Union Pacific) GS-4 class of steam locomotives. The locomotive is a streamlined 4-8-4 (Northern) type steam locomotive. GS is abbreviated from "Golden State", a nickname for California (where the locomotive was operated in regular service), or "General Service". The locomotive was built by Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio, for SP in May 1941; it received the red-and-orange "Daylight" paint scheme for the passenger trains of the same name which it hauled for most of its service career.
(Exhibited and sold at The Other Art Fair, Los Angeles 2018)