Monday, October 30, 2006


I just discovered that Mark David Gottsegen, author of the one art reference book every painter should own, The Painter's Handbook, has a website, . It looks pretty good, though in the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that I've only looked at about 5 of the many pages on the site. Of course I've spent about an hour and a half looking at 2 of those pages...
This is my favorite so far, being a sucker for road tales, and road tales involving paint being only second to the unwritten road tale involving paint and scooters which the Norns dangle before me like a carrot...
Mark starts this entry with (indeed the bulk of it consists of) a list. Now, the Dragon has very little interest in accounting, or listmaking. My "to-do" lists rarely get beyond an entry stating "prioritize action items" before I give up and either dive willy-nilly into the things that must be done, or fix another cuppa and start looking for cool old scooters on the intarweb. But this list hooked me. Check it:

Net Vehicle Weight: 8728 lbs
Average number of miles traveled daily: 50
Greatest number of miles traveled in one day: 347
Fewest number of miles traveled in one day: 0.1
Number of days on the road: 396
Longest time spend in one location: 27 days
Shortest time spent in one location, other than for fuel: 43 minutes
Number of campgrounds visited: 32
Number of motels stayed in: 15

[b]Other camping facilities:
Municipal parking lots with permission: 56
Town parks with permission: 75
Mall parking lots with permission: 22
Mall parking lots without permission: 7
Bar/saloon/tavern parking lots with permission: 74
Bar/saloon/tavern parking lots without permission 21
Public lands (no permission required) 18
Private lands with permission 52
Private lands without permission 1
Other (driveways, city streets, alleys, and so on) 23
Number of times required to move late at night
Once by the harbor Police in Crescent City CA, who pointed out a free camping spot 100 yards down the road
Once by the County Sheriff in Carrabelle FL, who pointed out a free spot 20 feet away in another parking lot
Once by an irate and drunken farmer in Skaneateles NY
Number of times arrested for trespassing 0

Number of miles traveled: 18569.2
Interstate highways: 1220.6
US highways: 6573.9
state highways: 7857.8
county roads: 1825.1
town roads: 923.6
unmarked roads: 72.3
private roads: 120.9

Yes, this is an anal, quantitative analysis of a purely qualitative experience. Yet somehow, rather than stifling the experiment into dead, dissected data, it gives the informationroom to play, to breathe, to live. Somehow it transcends being a beancounter inventory, and instead becomes an Impressionistic masterpiece, like Monet riffing on Kerouac.

And did you look at the van he did it in?

1957 International Harvester Metro A120: "Cennino Cennini." BD200 straight six, 90 hp at 600 rpm (third rebuild, with thanks to master mechanic Charles Sams and engine builder extraordinaire Robert Stanley). Three-on-the-tree converted to three-on-the-floor, with a replacement HD higher gear ratio tranny. Now 27' long: front deck is 3' long, back covered porch is 4' long. That cast iron eagle on the front deck weighs 50 lbs and is from a 1912 boiler at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, NY. Eight feet wide, with surround bumpers. 9' high. GVW now at ~10,000 lbs., including added steel, 3/4" deck, improved interior cabinetry, chemical toilet, water supply, kitchen equipment, tools, painting gear. Roof deck is accessible through the skylight. Two 3' x 5' Lexan windows. 3 DO a/c. Top speed: 50 mph, downhill, with a tail wind. Mileage: 10 mpg empty. (Never empty. Mileage: 8 mpg.) The odometer reads ~130,000, but it's on its second go-round, so it's more like 1,130,000 miles traveled.

Beautiful, Mark, simply beautiful.
Really, folks, I've just given you a taste, if you have any fascination with roadtrips, you should check out the link.
Oh yeah, Mark just happens to be one of the foremost experts on artist materials alive today, as I hinted earlier. And coming in December his site will be moving to

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