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Friday, January 20, 2012

Inspired by... days gone by


There are a lot of special and neat things about where I'm living now. And today I'm going to share one of them with you.

Anybody know what this is?




Most people guess: a cannon. But it's actually an engine from an original 1898 oil rig. Not only is it a neat story (how it came to be sitting where it is today – that is my cottage, Casa Verde, in the background) but it also provided me with an interesting composition from which to create an abstract for this week's Photo Art Friday Challenge!



A screenshot of my layers is at the end of the post. I layered the original photos and used Bonnie's Chinks of Light and Off Kilter textures to create the affect.



The Story: Back in the early 80's my friend's dad was working down in south Texas on the oil fields. He would travel the pipe lines, through the vast south Texas ranches, and read the pressure gauges to make sure there weren't any leaks. Over the course of 80+ years the oil companies had left a lot of junk treasure laying around. Eventually, one of the ranchers asked my friend's dad if he knew anyone who would be interested in cleaning up his ranch. He immediately contacted his son and grandson.

If I haven't lost you already, here's where the story gets interesting...



On the rancher's property, nearly hidden by trees, was an old tin building about 30ft wide x 100ft long. The building had been erected some 60+ years before by Magnolia Oil to preserve one of the last known, complete, original oil rigs. Somehow, as Magnolia became Mobile, became Exxon, the rig down in Web County was forgotten.

For my friend, it was love at first sight. He's still looking for the pictures he took of the rig as they found it inside this tin building, and I'll post them here when he does, but see if you can imagine what he saw:

The engine, pictured above, was attached to a wheel, about 14ft in diameter which rotated and engaged the walking beam, a 24ft x 18inch x 20inch solid piece of wood, mounted on an "A" frame. At the end of the walking beam was the shaft that went down into the earth, usually a quarter-mile or more, and brought up the oil. A massive, complex system with many parts, the oil companies quickly engineered to the more streamline rigs you still see today.



It took about a year-and-a-half, but my friend and his son cleaned up the rancher's property and moved the rig with the intent of setting it up exactly as they had found it. As you can see, they got as far as the engine. But the other parts have been preserved and one day (hopefully soon) people driving by won't be pointing to the "cannon" anymore...



Tico 2

Titusville Iron Works

Titusville PA.

Pat. 1898


The last picture is textured with Kim Klassen's awaken. It's just enough, don't you think {wink}. I've enrolled in her Beyond Layers class, and am looking forward to a "year of art full inspiration!"

I have to admit, I'm intrigued by stories like the one shared above. I love old equipment, gears, rigs, etc. and believe history comes alive when you can teach it through personal stories. It's more interesting and meaningful, because it's the people in history that makes it matter.

I hope you've enjoyed the story. And if you have one of your own or know about these old rigs, I'd love to hear from you!








Sharing inspiration here:

Photo Art Friday beyondlayers Sweet Shot Day and then, she {snapped} kimklassencafe


  1. What an interesting story...AND image! Thank you for sharing. :)

  2. Very interesting post. I enjoyed reading about this piece of an Oil Rig and then seeing how you created your wonderful art piece of it. Nicely done.

  3. I loved your story, and your treatment is superb.

  4. Wonderful abstract. Visiting from PAF. Thanks. Karen

  5. very cool, love your images

  6. Fantastic feel, great abstract!

  7. I just love the story. Photos with words bring the past alive. And you told it well. Love everything you've done with this photo and thanks for sharing your screenshot! I haven't gotten that brave yet as to add so many layers but you've given me inspiration.

  8. Really nice image and texture. Very impressed that you're an author as well as a great photographer. If you have code for a button to your book site, would love to display on my site. I'm trying to work on a first novel, and I also do book reviews for Examiner.com so will look into getting one of your books to review. Happy Tuesday.


  9. Great find - wonderful story! Your photos are excellent!

  10. Interesting and nice post-processing.

    Regards and best wishes

  11. What an exciting process. Thanks so much for including the link. I have printed it out and cannot wait to give it a try. Your end product is heavenly...just the thing I would so love to do. I DID think it was a canon....how the eyes and mind presets can influence what we see. Wonderful image and superb use of the texture. genie


If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June