Rural Route One - Artist Vincent Whitehead ballpoint pen art
Previously on the drawing board

Latest Update

Well, here it is... The finished product. The completed image has taken me a total of 61 hours to do and it felt like only a few days. I have loved every minute of this drawing. I hope that the love I have for the subject has come through in the drawing itself. I went with a more subdued lower foreground to frame the drawing. I don't want to detract from the main subject which is the 765 Berkshire itself. I want the viewer to be pointed to the main subject as well.

The small post is directing the eye inward to the center of the drawing and helping to keep the focus on the subject. The shadow work is a series of light, tightly drawn lines done to the contour of the ground fall, and specifically to the flow of the gravel road bed to help reinforce the lines and depth needed to show that the track is raised above the ground level. Notice the light that is shown between cars. That gap helps to prove to the viewer that the image is real and causes the mind to believe in the image. I challenge you to look for these kinds of little details in life and become aware of them. Most people don't even give them a thought. But, if they weren't there your mind would recognize it immediately.

Good Observation is one of the keys to believable art work when it comes to rendering a scene realistically.

I hope you have enjoyed watching this drawing develop as I worked on it. It has been a pleasure to do.

765 Steam Engine and train (detail)

"765 Steam Engine and train"

Hello everyone. After a long absence of a new work to post here on my work in progress page I have come to my current project with full fervency. This is a subject that is very close to my heart. Fired by the fact that I grew up in Lima, Ohio, one of the largest Railroad junctions in the state of Ohio. I lived in several places in Lima as we moved around a lot when I was a child. That gave me the opportunity to see Lima from many different perspectives. The one constant theme in that perspective was how the Railroads affected life as it moved an grew in our town.

I can remember the early generation diesel engines as they did their work in local trains, switching the many businesses that counted on them for their flow of in and out bound good and materials. I would stand and marvel at the size and pure power of these seemingly living moving works of mechanical art as they did their daily tasks.

Then one day as a 9 year-old boy, my grandpa Henderson, my mom's dad, told me that we were going to see something that I would remember for the rest of my life. We lived about 100 yards from the then B&O main line that ran north and south through town. There was to be a sight that hadn't been seen on those tracks for about seven years. One of the Lima Locomotive Works, Berkshire Steam Engines and it's Tender would be passing through on it's way to our Lincoln Park to be permanently displayed. It would be it's last run under live steam.

I stood with the hundreds of other people, who were gathered along the tracks, to see this monster roll by. It wasn't going very fast, but I was glad of that. I wanted to get a good look at it as it moved past. I got as close as my grandpa would let me.

The ground was rumbling as it moved closer. I was standing about 20 feet from the tracks, watching as the steam blew out of the valves on the side, and wisped from the top and sides of the safety openings. It was ALIVE ! Large arms moving, driving, as it forced the huge wheels around and around. Smoke puffing up out of the stack as water droplets dripped off the Steam tubes and open lines.

Then just as I was standing there hypnotized by what I saw. I was awakened back to reality as the Engineer pulled with authority on the Whistle chain and the Engine made it's living, breathing presence known. The steam Whistle made a long Loud, WWHEEYOOO !!!!

It was a sound that sticks with me to this day. Two Long blasts, a Short and a very Long blast, as it passed us and made its way across the grade crossing of St. Johns Street and proceeded north. It caused me to move back behind my grandpa's protective legs. My grandpa stood 6 foot 2 inches tall and was a stout 235 pounds. Standing there in his bib overalls and his denim railroad hat. He wore that hat for as long as I could remember and continued to wear them throughout his life. He looked down at me and smiled.

Then as the engine moved up the mainline and out of sight, the people began to disperse. I looked up to my grandpa again and I saw tears in his eyes and forgot what I was going to ask him. I had never seen him cry to that point in my life.

My grandpa drove a milk truck that picked up bulk milk at farms and brought it back to the dairy for processing. That was all I knew about his work history at that time. He would take me along with him in the summers. I loved it. It wasn't until a few days after this day with the Berkshire that I found out from my grandma that my grandpa worked for the Nickel Plate RR and for a short time at the Lima Locomotive Works in the erection shop putting these engines together. He was laid off when the business moved to building diesel engines. My grandma said that he had never gotten completely over losing that job.

My Grandpa Whitehead, had a large part in reinforcing the love I had for railroading as well. He was a Conductor on the Grand Trunk RR in Pontiac, Michigan. He took me for my first train ride when I was 11.

Then later I married my beautiful wife Cheryl and her dad was a painter who worked for the Lima Locomotive and Baldwin Lima Hamilton Works that built Diesel Train Engines and later built Large Cranes. He had the privilege to paint the Shay Steam Engine that is on display in the Lima Museum to this day.

I have wanted to do this drawing for over 5 years but, have not been able to gather the reference photos and make the time to do it until now. I have decided to do the drawing based on the current configuration of the 765 which is now a part of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, 15808 Edgerton Road, New Haven, Indiana 46774. Their website link is and their phone number is 260-493-0765. They are planning operating excursions with the 765 this year.

Here are a couple of photos that I am working from:

I am putting the drawing in the passenger configuration, using the images that I took the last time I saw it come through Lima, 13 years ago. The railroad line will be a generic line. I will be focusing more on the engine while creating a believable life view of the typical rail scene. The drawing will be done completely with Staedtler "Triplus" archival Ink, Ball Point style pens. The overall size of the paper is 11" x 17" and the paper is 100% acid free, Hammer Mill 100lb heavy cover stock.

I have completed the basic layout work and started the pen work. The layout work was done in Very Light pencil using a basic grid method. I prefer to only use a minimal amount of layout lines to keep my erasing to a minimum. The first Work In Progress image is after about 4 hours.

I hope you come back often to check on the progress of this drawing. I will be doing a Limited Edition run of this drawing and they will be available for pre-order in the near future. At this point I have not committed to the exact number of the limited edition run but, it will not be less than 100 and not more than 250 and will all be personally numbered and initialed. The first 25 will have a personal inscription that I will add and be counter signed. The second set of 25 will be counter signed. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to .

Thank you for watching and KEEP ON CREATING !