The inspiration behind this painting is Lynn’s long-time love of motorcycle riding and a very active imagination. Rollie Free pictured on the motorcycle below held the land speed motorcycle record for almost 20 years.
In 1948, Rollie recorded 150.3 MPH on the salt flats of Utah. His clothing was stripped off him from previous attempts and this photograph is his record-breaking ride.
Lynn pondered what would it look like if Rollie was Amish? And thus, the painting was born.
Many baby boomers grew up in the ’60s riding a Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle. The initial bikes came from the factory with “banana seats” and tall "butterfly" type handlebars. The colors were Flamboyant Lime, Red, Radiant Coppertone, Sky Blue, and Violet.
The bike evolved into the Schwinn Krate that had various features such as a gear shifter. The colors and model names were the Apple Krate (Red), The Lemon Peeler (Yellow), and the Orange Krate (Orange). Oh, goodness the fun memories!
Lynn’s bicycle was an orange color. He pondered what if an Amish man could experience the fun that was had on a Schwinn bike and what might that look like?
Lynn is an avid motorcycle rider since a very early age. In 2020, Lynn installed a sidecar on his motorcycle and planned a trip with his wife Michelle across the country. Unfortunately, the pandemic delayed the trip. Bad Puppy was painted as a way to reflect the rich history of motorcycle sidecars and more importantly inspired by the love of ice cream by animals and people alike. Bad Puppy seeing the ice “scream” vendor broke free and flew to get his ice cream treat while the owner was yelling for the puppy to return.
The inspirations and motivations behind Barnyard Ballet were to craft an image of the most unlikely scenario to happen. The goal was to have an image that is whimsical and fun, where people can laugh at, be amused by, and appreciate the painting’s folly.
Ballet and barnyards do not go together, nor would farmhands ever be practicing their dance moves, especially in the hazards of a barnyard.
Art is unique and touches people differently. Some may be uncomfortable with this piece; others rejoice in how the piece strikes them. For the artist, success is first achieved in the journey of crafting a piece. Secondly, success is to get an emotion or provoke thought from the observer.
For those who find an art piece refreshing, that is great. For those few who may be offended by work, we are reminded that offense is never
given, but it is taken and is in our control.
In 1969 the iconic counterculture movie called Easy Rider featured Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper as motorcycle riding hippies who traveled across the United States in search of spiritual truth.
Motorcycles started as motorized bicycles in the late 1800s and early 1900s have evolved reflecting various lifestyles even to this day. For this painting, Lynn reached into multiple inspirations: the Captain America bike and its lifestyle; the Harley Davidson culture; and the Schwinn Krate culture that many boomers grew up with. Note the playing card that many of us placed on our spokes for that almost authentic motorcycle sound.
A part of the painting was inspired by a neighboring Plain family’s four-year-old daughter who regularly carried her favorite pet chicken under her arm. The one-legged rooster represents Dennis Hopper. Imagine what it might look like if Plain people were influenced by the same cultural icons as baby boomers. Certainly, this is not a likely combination, however, that is the fun and the whimsey of imagination.
The Bowden Spacelander bicycle was first shown in 1946. It was well-received with its space-age design looking special in those bleak post-war years. Beneath the pressed-steel frame was concealed an electric motor which charged when the bike was being ridden downhill or on the level. It then could then lend assistance when the road started going up. The bicycle also had built-in lights, a horn, and a radio. Amazingly, these characteristics are a part of today’s electric bike movement witnessed on the Spacelander 75 years earlier.
Unfortunately for Bowden, the Spacelander didn’t sell well and only 522 were ever made. It was considered to be too exotic and expensive for mass-market appeal. However today, the Spacelander’s design and retro-futuristic looks make it a collectors’ item and on rare occasions when they come up for sale, selling upwards of $5,000.
The Spacelander’s space-age design combined with the ‘30s and ‘40s art deco style movement, Lynn’s childhood memories of scary space movies are inspirations to make this whimsical painting.
Our family-owned a country property with a log cabin and a nice amount of acreage. Winter has especially fond memories of the family playing in the snow and warm fires inside the 1775 log building home.
The inspiration for this painting has roots with the artist’s children as they learned to snowboard while being pulled behind an ATV. What might winter fun look like if you don’t have an ATV, hills to ski, a snowboard, or even much snow but just an abundance of livestock? Fun, for all and maybe even a cow.
The painting captures the rich history of the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz Pennsylvania. It is the first commercial pretzel bakery in America with the building built-in 1784. The stone house was built from stones dug from the street itself and timber hewn from the surrounding forest.
In the late 1800s, early 1900s engines were being designed and placed on bicycles making motorcycles. As early as 1910, races were being held on large oval wooden tracks and the machines were called board track racers. In 1901 the Indian Motorcycle Company was formed by two bicycle racers. In 1902 Indian built 500 motorcycles. In 1913, Indian produced a peak of 32,000 motorcycles per year.
The motorcycle featured in this painting is the 1913 Indian V-twin engine with an incredible 1000 CC’s. Speeds on the board track were over 100 MPH. The bikes had no brakes relying on coasting or the riders’ feet to slow them down. Safety gear was non-existent with riding gear as googles and perhaps a leather riding cap.
Racing was cross country as well with races such as the Isle of Man or other flat-out road ridings. This painting whimsically imagines Plain people also evolving from bicycles to motor-driven machines and racing from Lancaster to Intercourse on route 340 and enjoying (or not so much) the biker's speed.
We tend to see and categorize Plain people as serious and only in their work settings; not thinking of the leisure and lighthearted part of their lives.
In this painting, the Plain modest dress, which easily identifies them as separate from the worldly kingdom, is contrasted with the over-the-top clothing and dress of the professional golf world.
In highlighting this the painting whimsically imagines what a weekly golf outing might look like for a trio of friends trying to have a foot in each world. In a small town that is not much more than a crossroads and having a name that brings out the snickering fourth grader in each of us, you never know what you might find at the local country club.
The title “Christmas In Paradise” brings flash visions of the Coca Cola Santa Clause, Norman Rockwell style Christmas scenes, and Burl Ives as Frosty The Snowman.
Christmas In Paradise…PA certainly has characteristics of those heart-warming memories sprinkled in with the realities of an agriculture-based life where running a farm is a 365 day a year job.
So, imagine reindeer pulling a sleigh past the pine trees of a full moonlit winter night. Sleighbells clanging, hoofs rhythmically hitting the ground. “You Reeka” the sleigh is actually a manure wagon spreading next growing season nutrients, with a pungent not-eggnog and cookies aroma.
This is a fourth of a study of five paintings focusing on the unusual town names surrounding Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Town names such as Intercourse, Blue Ball, Bird-in-Hand, etc. each have their own fascinating stories.
Death-defying feats have fascinated mankind for centuries. Many a hospital trip followed the words “hey ya’ll watch this”. Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel was an American stunt performer and entertainer. Throughout his career, he attempted more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps. Evel was influenced by Joie Chitwood Auto Daredevil Show, to become a motorcycle daredevil.
A generation of children grew up transfixed by his televised exploits,
imitating his stunts on bicycles 1960’s, and 1970’s and I was one of them.
In one of his first jumps for ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Knievel successfully jumped 50 stacked cars.
This painting captures the excitement and imagination of Evel’s exploits in a Plain community farm setting. I wanted to capture the childhood thrill we had on our bicycles imitating Evel but in an over-the-top way. By the way, this painting officially documents the world’s record for the number of cows jumped on a scooter.
The inspiration behind this painting was Elf On A Shelf – the Christmas tradition of how Elves’ hide in people’s homes and report back who is naughty or nice.
The rhyming nature of “Elf On A Shelf” somehow took me to “Cow On A Plow” and a painting concept was born. The painting name almost stayed “Elf On A Shelf” as there was immense joy in seeing people’s faces when they made the connection of seeing the image and the rhyming “Cow On A Plow”.
The painting was challenging as I had to imagine what a cow looks like sitting on a piece of farm equipment. Then to further twist the whimsical and unusual topic and adding to the story, I needed to answer how does the plow move.
Paintings such as these are our own fantasy story and can be whatever we want. So, what if in this fantasy world cows have dominion over humans. What might that look like! Then sprinkle a little over the top of a colorful umbrella and hat because the cow wants the sun protection. If you are going in full crazy whimsical, might as well be neck deep.
In 1970, Grand Funk Railroad produced their Closer To Home album. The iconic song on that album “I’m Your Captain” was their most definitive work summing up a band that greatly influenced us “chronically gifted” adults growing up in that era.
The lyrics "I'm getting closer to my home” sums up the troubles and excitement of travel but also the great feeling of coming home again. In this painting, the young man with his travel companion dog is finishing a journey of towns as indicated by the travel stickers on his suitcase. The reality of his travel stickers is that he did not travel more than 10 or so miles away but such a great trip for someone so young.
The Strasburg Railroad was founded in 1832 is America’s oldest continuously operating railroad. The painting's whimsey notes actual vintage rules for riding the railroad and a very lighthearted reflection of some of the region's uniquely named towns. The railcar represented is car 65. The clock is an image of the clock in the main boarding area.
A very common scene in areas populated by Anabaptists is that of a common black buggy traveling along the road. This painting reflects the plain people and their lifestyle. However, it also has a few twists. Common with many “English” are the stick figures on the back of their car depicting something unique in their life. This stick figure represents the toil of physical labor common in their life. Secondly,
common are yellow “How Am I Driving” stickers on commercial vehicles. With this driving sticker, we are asked how the driving is but with a reminder that the Bible does not want us to judge.
This painting does not have a driver because the horse knows the way home.
With townships like East and West Hempfield, it’s no surprise hemp has played a very important part in Pennsylvania’s agricultural history.
When the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn in 1681, it was destined to be a major producer of hemp. In 1683, the Commonwealth an act to legally compel every farmer to grow hemp. This law also helped promote the growth of commerce by allowing hemp fiber to be used as currency.
Fast forward to 1978 when the movie “Up In Smoke” was created. It was a counterculture story about two guys looking to score pot so they can get high and play music. This was Cheech and Chong’s greatest
comedy hit and has been called the first of the stoner movies. It took marijuana culture to a broader audience. A key part of that movie was the iconic song "Low Rider" written by the American funk band “War”. It appeared on their album “Why Can't We Be Friends?" The album cover is the paintings moon face.
The lyric takes the cool, laidback image of the low rider — the Chicano culture practice of hydraulically hot-rodding classic cars — and using innuendo, extends the image to a lifestyle with ties to marijuana usage.
This painting highlights the centuries old business of growing hemp as a cash crop while whimsically imagining what it might look like if Anabaptist hemp farmers were influenced by Cheech and Chong’s
During a recent trip on the back roads between Quarryville and Strasburg, PA, I saw an Amish man going exceptionally fast on a kick scooter. I realized that he had an electric powered scooter which had him traveling about 50 MPH.
Research pointed toward the motors for these being locally built in Intercourse. The manufacturer has unfortunately discontinued production. However, several stories from Amish about riding them was shared with me by men and women alike and the fact that no safety gear at all is worn while riding at the exceptional speeds.
The field corn was starting to turn in the early fall months and the area was desolate inspiring the alien cow abduction warning sign and hidden alien in the corn field. The alien just adds another level of whimsy to this fun image.
This painting (called Hockersville) recognizes the Hocker family and its presence in the Lancaster and Dauphin Counties in Pennsylvania since the early 1700’s.
Hockersville painting is a whimsical and imaginative snapshot of a single day of the Hocker family during its first annual reunion on September 7th, 1911. Over 200 local family members attended, most from around Penbrook (Eastern Harrisburg), PA.
Hockersville town is named in honor of Martin Hocker whose house is a brownstone at the southeast corner of Hockersville and governor roads built 1806 by Martin Hocker (1768-1862).
The center image of the painting is a 1909 Ford Model T delivery truck for the Butter Bretzel Baking Company owned by David Elmer (D.E.) Hocker (born 1881). Bretzel is the German name for pretzel.
The truck driver, reportedly Alfred E. Hocker, had the flat tire in route and never delivered the beloved bretzels to the reunion. This shame caused him to change his last name to Newman and he never worried about it again.
Before automobiles were practical, America relied on horse-drawn vehicles to deliver milk, ice and produce to home. Horses were well suited to the frequent stops and starts along a route. Horse-drawn vehicles are still in use today because many Amish believe that the use of motorized vehicles would usher in worldliness and ultimately destroy the purity of their simple way of life.
I wanted to paint an urban theme highlighting vintage homes – but with whimsical style. We typically assume Amish hold rural, agricultural jobs – but this is just not a true impression. The idea of an Amish pizza delivery collides things that we would not necessarily put together and makes for an image that upon thought – well why not!
When pondering the painting's concept, my mind easily wandered to what an Amish pizza might look like using their traditional foods.
As Al Yankovic might have sung, “don’t be vain, don’t be whiny, or have it delivered in something shiny!"
Rumspringa is a rite of passage for Amish youth, and normally begins at age 16 and ends when a person chooses either to be baptized in the Amish church or leaves the community. They are no longer under the control of their parents and because they are unbaptized, so not yet under the authority of the church. Rumspringa varies greatly between communities and Rumspringa as a wild rebellious experience is unknown in smaller settlements or affiliations.
This painting imagines the freedom and excitement of the start of a teens Rumspringa journey. Unable to drive, their camper is on a bicycle. It is covered with 1960’s Hippy movement graffiti of peace, free love, exploration, and experimentation. Hippies felt alienated from society, as they saw as dominated by materialism and repression. They advocated nonviolence and love, with a popular phrase “Make love, not war,” and were called “flower children.” They promoted openness and tolerance as alternatives to the restrictions and regimentation they saw in society. In this paintings journey, I saw many parallels between the Hippy era and Rumspringa journey.
There are many nuances to this painting including 1960’ s phrases but also a multigenerational reference to the boat’s name from Finding Nemo we watched countless times with our children. The chicken on the boats bow is imitating the woman standing on the front of the Titanic arms (wings) outstretched feeling the wind and freeing experience.
A number of my friends of color ask me why I don’t include people of color in my Amish paintings. Anabaptists which Amish and Mennonite faiths are a part of and are not a race or part of a particular
country. However, the groups do stay well within their tight community. I have known persons of color to be part of the faith, but it is very rare, and they were not born into it.
62 Johnson Road-The Amish Hood is a painting inspired by my friend who called me one day very excited as he saw his first black Amish man driving a horse and buggy in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania region. Our phone conversation humorously explored “What would it look like if an inner-city man of color was Amish?” Thus, this painting whimsically explores the collision of those two opposite worlds.
Amish dedicate themselves to four core values: faith, family, community, and living a simple and modest life. Often the first thing that identifies the Amish is the simple, and modest way they dress, signifying their commitment to the principles of the Amish church – to live simply. Anabaptist originated in Switzerland and Germany.
Inner-city Values and Culture
There are a number very iconic characteristics associated with America’s inner city “hoods”. The overabundance of gold bling, the throwing of shoes over telephone lines, tattoos, name a few.
Gold has always had a certain importance in most cultures of the world. A symbol of wealth, power and prosperity through the ages. However, the unique role of gold bling in person of color can be quite
extraordinary. The relationship between bling and Black expression is generally understood as something reflecting conspicuous consumption. Grillz, over-sized platinum chains, and diamond earrings evoke images of rappers showing off grand fashion in music videos, defining and selling the idea of urban cool. The need to flash is not something that was born in the hoods of America. As MC Schooly D put it, wearing gold “goes back to Africa.” The sharper the dress, the flashier the gold, the more you take care of yourself and putting yourself ideally in proximity to important people.
Shoefiti is the throwing of laced footwear across raised cables, such as telephone wires and power lines. Across North America, shoes are thrown onto wires in both rural and urban areas. The perceived meaning varies from region to region but there is no confirmed meaning behind it. Many theories exist on the meaning of shoefeti from:
Throwing shoes over power lines may have the look and feel of a very American pastime, but this practice common in Australia, U.K., and Spain South Africa.
Paintings Arm Tattoo
I recently learned of a person who adopted a rescue dog. He noticed a tattoo on the dog and in a sign of commitment and solidarity with the dog, got the same tattoo. After which he learned the tattoo signifies
Pinecraft Origins - A Sarasota Florida Community
Pinecraft is an unusual neighborhood in Sarasota, first settled by Mennonites in the 1920s and a bit later joined by Amish people. The neighborhood is a popular winter vacation spot for many North American Amish and Mennonites, particularly from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. "Pinecraft" became the new name in 1925-1926 of the Sarasota National Tourist Camp. Sometime after 1926, another tourist camp called Homecroft was laid out on adjacent property west and north of Pinecraft, which sometime after 1946 was incorporated into Pinecraft.
Mennonites and Amish to trek to this area to farmed vegetables, especially celery in the fields east of Cattleman Road. By the 1930s several groups of Amish and Mennonites purchased tracts of land in
what is known today as Pinecraft. By the early 1930s, the winter population had grown too large for worshiping in members’ homes and began to worship together at The Tourist Church. Some families
purchased land and became permanent residents. Many farmed during the summer in the north and in Sarasota during the winter.
Many visitors travel by bus or private drivers from their northern homes to Pinecraft. In Pinecraft, in lieu of horse-drawn travel, the Amish mainly use large adult tricycles as well as bicycles, with some golf carts included in the mix. No other Amish community makes use of such a creative assortment of transportation, as the horse-and-buggy is generally considered an inseparable aspect of Amish life.
A reference on Pinecraft activities would be incomplete without mentioning the area’s beautiful beaches, which attract many Amish and Plain visitors. The shores of Siesta Key and Lido Key, two small islands lying just off Sarasota, are highly popular among Amish sun-seekers.
This Painting Inspiration
This painting is much different than most of my other works in this genre on many fronts. My anticipated painting direction was more stylistically whimsical and imaginary. When I immersed myself
in the community, it was apparent a different artistic approach was necessary. I choose a referential approach to portray the special community charm, its buildings, and people. I described Pinecraft to
others as the “big chill”. Smiles abound in this community!
The unusual vehicles in the paintings foreground are creations by Larry Yoder and are displayed in this example – at the annual Pinecraft Christmas parade. Note the small horse in front of the black buggy.
Larry was told just too many times he was missing a horse in front of his solar powered black buggy. So, he placed a small, toy horse on it to spite the hecklers.
Notice the bus stop sign and the Gator Wilderness Camp School. This school dedicated to advocating for troubled boys is favored and supported by the community and tours are offered weekly.