A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sharing a lunch with Steven Smith and his incredible grandmother. As most people know, Steven is the proprietor of The Royale which is a cool tavern located on Kingshighway just a little south of the Arsenal intersection. Over the course of our meal the conversation turned to art and personalities in Saint Louis. We talked of an appreciation for past artists like Thomas Hart Benton and Joe Jones and how they incorporated people and places of their time into their art. While Steven and his grandmother shared a Caramel Nut Crunch milkshake a loose plan was hatched to do some paintings for The Royale in the spirit of those artists.
The first step would be to get a good feel for The Royale, easily accomplished by just hanging out there. I'm no stranger to The Royale but I wouldn't call myself a regular. Being married, having a full-time job, two young kids and an obsessive painting habit leaves me little time for hanging out. I can't tell you how many events and shows I've missed due to the reasons listed in the previous sentence but it's the life I've chosen so it's pointless to complain or rationalize it. The point is, it's tough to get out. Long gone are the days I can look at a listing of events going on and simply choose which one I want to go to. Time away from home or work must be planned out with all bases covered. One way around this is a schedule. My wife has things she does on a regular basis which gets her out of the house and some valuable time away to do the things she enjoys doing. So to hang out at The Royale more I tried to put a schedule together and so far it's worked pretty good. On Sunday nights usually from about 9pm - 11pm I'll go down there and have a few drinks and do some sketching. Nothing extensive so far, just something to get a nice feel for the room. Out of that experience small pieces like the one above have been created. As time moves forward the pieces will get larger and more extensive. For now I'm enjoying my Sunday evenings.