November 2011

Nov 2011 “Running Down the Road”

Newsletter from Dana Forrester Automotive Art, 12th Edition, November 2011

Spending a week every summer in Key West and a week in Breckenridge, Colorado, isn’t all bad! I can’t think of two summer destinations where I’d rather be, and we’ve been fortunate to be in both places most every summer lately. My son and daughter both completed their college degrees in May, and their reward was a free trip to Key West. Since Judy and I love Key West, this wasn’t a big sacrifice. We enjoy flying to Ft. Lauderdale, renting a van and driving the gorgeous Florida Keys on the Overseas Highway, then just relaxing around the beach and hotel pool. And it’s always about ten degrees cooler there than at home in Kansas City. I think it would be great to open an art gallery in Key West and just stay there!

This year has been another colorful year of traveling to automotive and art events. As far as I’m concerned, starting the year with a ten-day trip to Scottsdale’s Barrett-Jackson Auction in January can’t be beat. That event is still an overdose of automotive excitement, and the automotive public seems to enjoy my artwork since I usually take a number of custom orders and sell a bunch of prints. Each year I try to debut several new works there, and next year I plan to launch a year-long tour (with a title just like a rock group!) and call it “Another Brick in the Wall” Tour. Clever reference to my recurring brick theme?

2011 has been a busy year with my attending Board Meetings for the National Corvette Restorer’s Society and the National Corvette Museum. I led another National Road Tour to the NCRS Convention in Novi, Michigan (more on that later), and my 1965 Corvette Coupe received an NCRS Top Flight Award at the Joplin Regional (yes, just two weeks before the tornado destroyed much of that town). The ’65 is in its best condition since I bought it in 1997, and I can’t wait to prepare it for judging at the 2014 NCRS National Convention here in Kansas City.

In February I attended the Ron Fellows Driving School at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch west of Las Vegas. I never considered myself a very competitive driver, but after a stint driving Grand Sport, Z06 and ZR1 models of Corvette on their course, I think I’m a much better and more aggressive driver than before the course. Their school in Pahrump, Nevada, has an expanded track and school, its own condo facilities, and open wheel dealership and storage garages. I’d highly recommend their school, and I can’t wait to return.

This year we’ve enjoyed keeping our grandson, Paxton. Allison and her husband Brett, gave birth to Paxton last November — and boy what a kid! He’s growing so fast, crawling and walking at one year old, that we can’t seem to be away from him very long. He’s got to be the best child ever!

NCRS Road Tour and Convention

This year’s NCRS Midwest Road Tour to the convention in Novi, Michigan, was really exciting, especially since I was the leader. I arranged for a kickoff dinner here in Kansas City at the Armacost Museum for those joining the tour here, as well as for other KC Chapter members. Viewing the very diverse collection from Studebakers to Cadillacs to Corvettes to early Thunderbirds was a great way to begin the tour. The first night out on tour saw us at the Chevrolet Hall of Fame Museum of LaVelle Hunt in Decatur, Illinois. LaVelle has put together a fabulous group of cars and memorabilia based on the Pace Cars of the Indy 500. The website is

Day 2 saw us stop at two collections about a mile from each other in Indiana. Larry Gerig’s display of over 100 cars is housed in a brick structure with dioramas and checkerboard floors. My favorite area was the room with one of each color of 1958 Corvette. After Larry’s collections, Ed and Cindy Foss hosted all of us (29 cars) for dinner, and we viewed their collection of over 55 Corvettes, all with less than 10,000 miles! Many had less than 1000 miles. The collection of neon signs along with the white ceilings and floors really made the Corvettes stand out.

Day 3 took us to the Gilmore Car Museum, a campus of reconstructed barns, a Shell Station, and a real Diner. Many significant cars were on display, including a 1886 Benz, the 1909 Thomas Flyer that won the Around the World Race, several Pierce-Arrows and Duesenbergs, and a Tucker. On-going construction will allow for almost double the display space in the fall. This is a can’t miss public museum just west of Hickory Corners, Michigan. Check out and get ready to be amazed.

The NCRS Convention in Novi, Michigan, was among the best in the history of the organization. The quality of the cars on the show field was incredible, and Werner Meier arranged the most amazing selection of tours away from the convention, such as the GM High Performance Engine Build Plant, Pratt & Miller’s Race Shop, the amazing automotive collection of Ken Lingenfelter, the GM Wind Tunnel, the Chrysler Museum, the Henry Ford Museum at Greenfield Village, the GM Heritage Center, and the GM Milford Proving Grounds. Wow! It can’t get better than that. My hat is off to all involved.

A New Special Project

This year I have begun a new special projects program. I created the Official Art for both the NCRS Convention and Corvettes at Carlisle’s 50th Celebration of the 1961 model year and organized a competition for the sale of the Original Art used for the Event Display Banners. On a first come, first served basis, this was to celebrate the cars of 1961 in the 50th Anniversary of that model year. The buyers of the original paintings saw their Corvettes as the subjects of the celebrations with banners created for both the Convention and Corvettes at Carlisle. I anticipate that future events may adopt a similar procedure in an effort to enhance their celebrations, with a portion of the sale going to the event’s charity.

A short word about my flying experiences. Few people know that in the early 1970’s I flew as a weapons specialist on helicopters for the U.S. Army in Vietnam. I’ve missed the flying part of that. In August my wife Judy gave me a gift of a helicopter flying lesson, and I was thrilled with the experience. I’m evaluating whether I continue with the lessons. In early September, I treated my son Adam to a short flight on an historic 1929 Ford Tri-Motor passenger plane. What an amazing experience! I felt I was in an Indiana Jones movie. If that opportunity comes to your area, take it.

After the Convention we were home only about a week before Judy and I led another smaller tour to Vettes on the Rockies in Breckenridge, Colorado. We drove to Loveland, Colorado, the first day, then traveled the second day up the Big Thompson Canyon and through Rocky Mountain National Park. We viewed the “Alluvial Fan,” the rockslide results of a dam break, and various overlooks from the highlands. We enjoyed lunch at the Grand Lake Lodge and drove on to Breckenridge where we stayed at the Beaver Run Resort overlooking the ski runs. What spectacular scenery! Next year’s Colorado Corvette event will move to Winter Park.

In late August I attended my largest Corvette event — Corvettes at Carlisle in Pennsylvania. I arrived a few days after the east coast earthquake and experienced the outer forces of Hurricane Irene. My customers came early to avoid the heavy rains and winds of Saturday night and Sunday. Many tents on the fairgrounds collapsed, but most of the vendors had left by that time.

In early September I attended the 17th Anniversary Celebration (and Board of Director’s Meeting) at the National Corvette Museum. September saw me exhibiting again at Mid America Motorworks Funfest, Kansas City’s historic Plaza Art Fair, and the Petit LeMans ALMS Race at Road Atlanta and the Eureka Springs Corvette Weekend in northwest Arkansas in early October. I really anticipated the Petit LeMans weekend as I had not been to a Corvette Racing Team event since LeMans in 2008 and never to this track. I love the sound of the Corvettes blasting around the track, usually well ahead of their class competitors. The Corvette Team won the 24 Hours of LeMans this year in its GT Pro class, and one of the team’s former Corvettes won the GT Amateur Class.

Corvette’s finest hour’ My trip to Petit LeMans was exhilarating, and I took dozens of photographs for possible new work. I’d like to create some official art for that event next year.

My Newest Work

Let’s talk about new work. Since this catalog was printed a year ago, I’ve completed quite a few new editions and sold most of those new originals. “Saturday Morning Heroes” features a Marina Blue 1967 Corvette Coupe beside the wall of Eichorn’s Market, where my parents bought groceries when I was a child. The ad sign on the wall features my television hero, whom I faithfully watched every Saturday morning. It was created from an early Wheaties box picture of The Lone Ranger and Tonto to relive “those thrilling days of yesteryear.”

Another new work is “Grand Sport Evolution.” A new Grand Sport Coupe in Torch Red helps to celebrate the historic Grand Sport #2 painted on a wall as part of an advertising sign for Champion Spark Plugs, George Wintersteen’s major sponsor in that car. I plan to introduce other colors and bodies of Grand Sports in the near future, so check my website regularly.

“Cooksey’s Legacy” displays the 2008 Crystal Red Z06 427 Edition that has come to be known as the “Wil Cooksey Edition.” Wil signed the back of the console lids in all of the 505 Corvettes. Because this edition was intended in part to celebrate Wil’s retirement as Manager of the Corvette Assembly Plant, I felt the best background setting would be the Corvette Plant. Since each of these Corvettes has a production sequence number, I can match the number of the print to the build number of your Cooksey Edition.

“Nine Miles to Milford” was the official Banner Art for the 2011 NCRS National Convention in Novi, Michigan. Because 2011 is the 50th Anniversary of the 1961 model year, I selected a white ’61 to park beside a fictional wall sign advertising the Milford Proving Grounds, one of the off-site attractions for that Convention. Years ago, I remember viewing a Proving Grounds video of Zora Arkus Duntov driving a white 1961 Corvette around the high oval, so I thought it fitting to use an image of that action on this wall.

Since the sales of Camaros are so hot, I wanted to paint a group of Camaros touring the West. These cars have just stopped for a break at the famous Route 66 gas stop of Twin Arrows just east of Flagstaff, Arizona. Note the Arrows rising from the ground to draw motorists off the road. I’ve included a new red Camaro SS, a silver Callaway Camaro SS, and two early Camaro Indy Pace Cars, envisioning the drivers inside the Diner or the Trading Post.

“The Wings of Eagles” shows a pair of Mercedes Gull Wings, a Red 1957 and a Silver 2010. I’d resisted painting the older Gull Wing for years, hoping a newer version might be released, and I held off using the wall sign of the German Beer St. Pauli’s Girl. It was difficult not painting those …er… mugs of beer before now, but I think the wait was
worth it. The tie of the German cars and the German beer has made this a very popular image.

“Double Your Pleasure” is a special work for me. I owned both of these SS396 Chevelles from 1969 to 1972. The Marina Blue 1966 on the right was stolen and stripped in St. Louis, but the insurance company replaced it with a better and higher horse-powered 1967 Chevelle (it was a Nickey built car!). I’ve wanted to paint these cars for myself for years and finally found a appropriate setting from my hometown of Kirksville, Missouri. In fact, the sign on this building just to the left of the Wrigley sign is the first Coca-Cola brick wall sign I ever painted.

“Breakfast at Carlisle” is the Corvettes at Carlisle Banner Art for 2011. This beautiful Fawn Beige 1961 Corvette is parked in front of the fictional Carlisle Diner while its owner is inside for breakfast. This is another in the new Event Banner program mentioned earlier, where a portion of the cost goes to the event charity. When an owner commits to buying the original painting, his car is featured on the Event Banner. Look for more of these Event Banner projects.

Just completed before going to press is the second in the Key West Series, that of a small theater off Duval Street. “The Tropic of Key West” is a typically colored building for the island, and since one of my themes in this series is to focus on tropical colors, I’ve located several colorful bicycles strapped to the poles outside the theater. Current and coming attractions all have Florida themes, such as Key Largo, Body Heat, Cocktail, and Corvette Summer. I love this series and in the next painting plan to park an early Corvette at the curb in front of the original Margaritaville in Key West.

Earlier in 2011 I was commissioned to paint a watercolor of a Venetian Red 1956 Corvette by the daughter of the original owner. She now owns the Corvette and wanted the painting to show the car parked at an historic Los Angeles hamburger stand called Tommy’s where her family went for burgers in the car back in the sixties. “Tommy’s” is still at its original location, and the image is available in all sizes of prints and canvases.

I always try to give an overview of future paintings. I plan do a painting of two or three 1970 LT-1 Corvettes, the #49 Greenwood Stars and Stripes Corvette, a couple of new Grand Sport paintings, the original Grand Sport #2 driven by Wintersteen, a 1970 LS6 Chevelle, the sold axle Corvette parked at Margaritaville, a Carbon Flash Metallic 100th Anniversary Corvette, a newer Shelby Mustang, and a red 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB. Sprinkle in several commissions for special events and private collectors, and it looks like a busy year.