This painting was a result of research on the boom town in East Texas, named Kilgore. In 1932 oil was struck and a town of 800 people changed overnight to 8000. So many came that needed mail, the postmen were forced to modernize to Automobiles. I wondered what it must have been like to ride the trusted horse into town for the last time. So here is my image of that moment when Postman Laird traded up. A “Land Man” is on the right with land plots in hand. In the background, oil wells are shown pumping away. So many oil wells were drilled in town that you could get from one end of town to the other without touching the ground. The streets were muddy well into the 30s. On the left I depicted one of the cafes from the early days, and on the right, the first feed store in Kilgore. Laird is dressed in the uniform required by Kilgore’s Postmistress, with mail satchel over his shoulder.
Published by Larry Kitchen
Larry C. Kitchen received a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Sam Houston State University, and a Masters of Arts degree from The University of Texas at Tyler, Texas, where he attended on scholarship and received his degree with Distinction. Mr. Kitchen worked for several years as an illustrator and graphic designer for the Dallas based LTV Corporation. His clients included the Pentagon, NASA, Wilson Foods, Brannif Airlines, Emsco, Northrop Grumman, and Broadman Holman Publishing. He was awarded Gold and Silver Addys from the American Advertising Federation's Addy Awards. Mr. Kitchen served as "Artist in Residence" for the Hilmsen Art School in Salzwedel, Germany in 2013. He worked with graduate students from Houston Baptist University studying abroad. Mr. Kitchen's work has been and is currently on display at many locations from Germany to East Texas including: Monchskiche Museum, Germany, LeTourneau University, The East Texas Oil Museum, The Kilgore College Fine Arts Center, The University of Texas at Tyler Health Science Center, Texas Bank and Trust locations, Barron's Books of Longview, Primary Care Health Center, and others. Kitchen’s paintings have been exhibited in galleries and universities throughout Texas, including the Anne Dean Turk Fine Art Gallery, The Meadows Gallery at the University of Texas Tyler, Dallas Baptist Fine Art Gallery, L&L Gallery of Longview, Texas, The Wild Bunch Gallery, Lufkin, Texas, Fine Art Gallery of the College of South Plains and "Five Texas Illustrators" show at the University of Texas A&M at Commerce, TX. He has taught and lectured at several universities and colleges in Texas, and over the past thirty years directed the Visual Arts Department at Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas. Larry now devotes much of his time to painting historical narratives. His commissions have taken him across the State of Texas and further in search of factual information to aid his work. Over the past two decades trips to Europe, Iceland, the deserts of West Texas, and Wyoming have proved inspirational and invaluable in building his paintings. His works include the History Mural at The University of Texas Health Center in Tyler, Texas, "Downtown Gladewater, 1932" at the Gladewater Banking Center Lobby, in Gladewater, Texas, "Marshall Courthouse" at the Marshall Banking Center, in Marshall, Texas, . His work has also been featured in Tyler Today Magazine, in the article, "Larry Kitchen, Kilgore's Renaissance Man". He has also illustrated children's books entitled: Below the Huber Ice, and Good Enough available on Amazon.com. Larry resides in Kilgore, Texas with his wife, Laurie. View all posts by Larry Kitchen