me introduce myself. I'm Rick Kubicki from Columbus, Ohio. Many of
you know me as R1Camper from Letterhead
Live Chat. I decided to make this Kenlake WallDog Event our
first live Letterhead Meet.
We've been members of The Letterhead Website for sometime now. I'm really not a signmaker, but part of my job as a spray painter in a body shop, involves painting graphics and lettering on vehicles. We learned about Letterhead Meets via this website. I've done a few large murals before, and figured I might be able to help in Kenlake. The location was perfect to enjoy our other loves; camping and the great outdoors.
The weather was perfect all weekend. It was sunny, but not too hot. The 8 hour trip down from Columbus, Ohio was nice. Traffic was light, especially in Kentucky. I was surprised to see that Western Kentucky was mostly hilly and not mountainous like eastern Kentucky.
Once we got near Land Between The Lakes, we took the scenic route down to Kenlake. It was a beautiful area, lots of hardwood trees already filled with leaves. There were so many camping areas here I bet you could camp here forever and never use the same campsite twice.
The meet took place in Kenlake State Park. The building was a 20,000 sq. ft. indoor tennis facility. It was huge!
We arrived Thursday night and met Pat King (PKing) and Tim Barrow (Timi) at the building where all the painting was going to happen. I met them on #letterhead chat but never in person. It seemed like I already knew them. Pat had on a pair of his famous overalls. Someday I'm gonna have to get a pair. They are wild looking...perfect for a Letterhead Meet!
They showed us around the building and gave me an idea what would be happening. I was thinking I wouldn't be much help because I had never used 1-Shot enamel before. They assured me there would be plenty for me to do, and that 1-Shot is easy to work with.
I stayed in a cottage with a view of the lake in front and the woods in back. I got up pretty early Friday morning, and had time to walk around the park for a while. The lake was beautiful, like a sheet of glass. There were a lot of blue jays flying around. They are noisy birds, but have great color to them.
Arriving at the meet, I met Kevin Ledbetter, the representative from 1-Shot, He gave me info on what the paint was like and how to thin it for airbrushing.
People were already hard at work on the 10 murals we hoped to complete by Sunday. I walked around meeting the project leaders and offered any assistance I could. Letterheads and Pinheads are really friendly people. I was thrilled that some of them had work for me to do. In fact, many needed my help at the same time. I was swamped with work to do!
Pat King and Alan Johnson put me to work first. I was recruited to spray the base coat on a couple of ultra light airplanes. They already had the graphics laid out and I was glad I had remembered to bring my paint gun along.
It's a high tech gun that saves on material and overspray. We painted the ultralights with a lacquer based product designed for that type of plane. Since spray painting is my main line of work, I felt very much at ease being around so many talented artists in a field of business I don't know much about.
Alan Johnson did a great job of blending the colors on the first plane with the scallops. On the other plane, I learned a cool trick watching Doc Welty, co-publisher of A Magazine About Letterheads, quickly paint bricks using the end of a sponge. When he was done, they looked real. An airplane made of bricks...just imagine!
My next job was to assist Mark Adamany on his mural. I got to help paint the sunburst and the bright background colors. I quickly learned spraying 1-Shot, even with an airbrush, is sticky business. It made my hair feel like a hat, reminding me of painting cars years ago with straight enamel. Sure glad I had my respirator with me.
I also felt at ease helping Mark. This was his first experience with 1-Shot as well. He usually uses water based paints to do his murals. You wouldn't know it to see his mural. He did an excellent job on it!
Dinner was great! We ate outside under a canvas canopy, feasting on fried catfish, hush puppies, white beans, and coleslaw. It was interesting to sit around and chat with the others, learning about the culture in their part of the country. It's amazing how some things, including accents, are different from State to another, not to mention other Countries.
Tom and Kathy Durham asked if I'd do a little airbrushing on their mural. They really made me feel welcome. I learned a lot about the sign business and working for yourself from them. They gave me the inspiration to start my own business someday soon. I've been dreaming about it for a long time, but never really knew where to start. It's big move and it will take a pile of courage to realize. After my chat with the Durham's, I now feel more secure about giving self employment a try.
I stayed kind of late Friday night, just walking around, meeting people and learning all I could from them. Tim Barrow gave me many tips on the sign business. I really admired the work he has done, and it was great listening to the experiences he has had over the years.
I met a few guys who were doing pinstriping and gold leafing. They taught me a lot about the craft. I got to trade my airbrushed panel of Stevie Ray Vaughn to Jeff Whitaker for one of his pinstripe panels. Hopefully the start of a large collection of project panels.
The park shut off the lights about 2 am. It's a good thing they did or I would have been there till morning. Friday was definitely a long day for me.
I got up kind of late Saturday morning feeling a little rough. Maybe I was a little too good to myself the night before. ;) I did a little more airbrushing for Tom and Kathy and talked with more people. There must have been close to 100 people their on Saturday. I wish I could remember more names of the people I met. I do know I will never forget their faces or work!
It's amazing how these people can work so diligently on these murals for such a long time. Bill Ridell comes to mind. I had a chance to talk with him for awhile. Bill started his business in the 1940's. From what I saw him do there, he'd run circles around me. The patience and stamina of this man is unbelievable! No wonder they call him the Energizer Bunny.
Alan Johnson is another that comes to mind. I got the feeling he was like the jack of all (artistic) trades, and a master of them as well. I have never seen lettering that was legible as small as Allen signed his name. Alan seemed to be fascinated with the live video Steve & Barb were transmitting over the Internet during the meet. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a few new ones on chat in the future after seeing how much fun we have here at The Letterhead Website.
I cant remember his name, but the guy and his family from San Diego comes to mind also, I think they had the most intricate mural there and they had to really work hard to complete it in just 2 days. I would of offered to help but I think I'd have been lost on that one.
Then there was Bill Masters. Talk about a pictorial artist! Every mural he worked on attracted an audience. I don't know how he can hold so many wet paint brushes in one hand.
I wanted to do something different on our mini vacation, so we went golfing at Kenlake's 9 hole course. We had a lot of fun and only lost about 6 balls. Now that she understands why I like golfing so much, I think I just may have a golfing partner for life:) I felt kind of guilty taking time off from painting the murals, but it was refreshing to take some time to enjoy the park.
That evening we watched a demo on pinstriping Kentucky style. In Kentucky, they use a human to pull their stripes. Dave Estes has this long beard. The group picked him up by all fours, and after carefully palletting his "brush," they proceeded to stripe a panel using his beard! It was a riot watching them. I laughed so hard I almost had to change my shorts. These sign painters are a wild bunch I tell you.
I met CJ Allen later that evening. He's a great guy! His engraving is awesome. I don't know how he can cut the metal so deep and be so finely detailed. Like me, he does a lot of primitive camping. He even has a tee-pee! It was cool to talk with him about being in the great outdoors. I wish we could have stayed in Kentucky longer. We'd really like to see CJ's land.
I got to try my hand at pinstriping a panel before the night was over. It was much easier doing it how the others do, I thank them for showing me how and letting me try their brushes. I think I'll make time to practice the art a lot more often now.
I think Steve and Barb Shortreed's live cam was a big hit with everyone. I got on it and chatted with Letterheads from round the globe. Our kids back home were on the computer watching what was happening here, but we never got hooked up at the same time to chat.
Unfortunately, we had to head back home early Sunday morning. I stopped back at the WallDog building to get my stuff and say goodbye. All the signs were basically done and they looked great. It was truly amazing that all that work was done in just 2 days. I can't wait to go to another Letterhead meet someday soon. Everyone was really fun to be around. I'm hooked now!
Special thanks to meet hosts Steve & David Estes. You guys really know how to put on a party. I'd also like to thank the Kenlake Park staff for being so helpful and friendly. Finally...a special thanks to The Letterhead Website for opening up a whole new world of information for us and so many others. We'll see you all real soon!
Rick Kubicki alias R1Campr
If you are thinking you might want to give this kind of ride a try, how 'bout making it to the next event? Run, don't walk! There's bound to be one coming to a neighborhood near you sometime soon. Why not make one of the big meets this Summer your first? There's the Mazeppa Muster in Minnesota Aug. 18-24 and the Cork, Ireland meet Sept. 2,3,4 & 5. Keep close tabs on the Event Page on the Letterhead Website. You really don't want to miss anything like this do you?
Links To Past WallDog Meets