Posts Tagged ‘family’

Grocery Cart

Grocery Cart by John Dyess

Does the subject of a painting or lack of a subject change the value of a painting? I’ve created illustrations professionally since I was 22 years old. My illustrations have always had a subject in them and usually a story to tell. Creating illustrations with a subject has provided me with an income to buy things, and pay taxes. My illustrations were created for clients to sell a product, educate children, inform, and tell stories.
Now I create paintings to please myself. My paintings still have a subject and sometimes tell a story.
Grocery Cart is one in a series of paintings that I call “Black shapes and textures”.
My painting Grocery Cart is based on a photograph that I took in a grocery store parking lot.  This Polaroid photo was taken many years ago to use as reference  for a commercial illustration assignment. Recently I was sorting through old Polaroid photos and found this photo. I scanned it into my computer and added a texture that I had painted. Now for me this image of an empty  grocery  cart represents hunger and homelessness.
I have included in this post a comment my friend “Dev”  made about my blog post “What’s the value of a painting”  page 1. Thank you Dev, your comment means a lot to me.

“It allows you to express something inside you – like what you saw when you looked at the fruit. Maybe it was a sense of awe, maybe you were struck by the color or the arrangement or the shadow and light but the art reflects that inner experience. Or perhaps you use the fruit as a metaphor for abundance or what have you. For me the viewer, I can experience what you did by “seeing through your eyes” or I can recall fruit from my past that had meaning for me. I also can just enjoy the beauty of the work, or sense the emotion, or find my own meaning.
At any rate because you chose to paint this and I saw it we connected at some level and shared an experience. I think that is what art does (and a whole lot more but I won’t continue to fill the page!) Now I’ll read page 2.  Dev

Adele kestler wearing a lace collar

This is a photo of my mother at about 16 years old.This is one of my favorite photos of her. I like the hand colored look and the lace collar.

Zeke-Adele wedding day

My mother and father on their wedding day, August 1933. My mother would have been 17 years old. My father would have been 23 years old. This is another hand colored photo.

1933 was the worst year of the depression with unemployment peaking at 25.2% with ( 1 in 4 people unemployed ) this year . Adolf Hitler became the chancellor of Germany and opened the first concentration camp at Dachau. 10’s of thousands travelled the road and rail in America looking for work , and the US banking system which was under great strain was propped up by the US government ( US banking act of 1933 )to try and stop the panic of people withdrawing their money from the banks. the continuing drought in the Midwest made even more of the land into dust bowls


Adele kestler 10?

This is my mother Adele Kestler around age 10

Adele 1932

My mother Adele kestler age 16

Adele sitting on auto August 1932

My mother Adele is sitting on my father’s automobile in 1932, when they were dating. Her father john Kestler died when she was 13 years old. She went to work sewing after she finished 8th grade and didn’t attend high school. This photo may have been taken in Dittmer, Missouri. I believe the auto is a Model A Ford ,around 1930, probably black in color.

Dittmer is an unincorporated community in western Jefferson County, Missouri, United States.[1] It is located about 14 miles northwest of Hillsboro on Route 30. This is shown on an early railroad map published in 1891 as “Dittmer’s Store.”

A post office called Dittmer’s Store was established in 1870, and the name was changed to Dittmer in 1899.[2] William Dittmer, an early postmaster, gave the community his last name.[3][4]
1n 1932 the United States was in a financial depression. I not sure if this was the reason my mother had to work in a factory and not attend high school.

The initial economic collapse which resulted in the Great Depression can be divided into two parts: 1929 to mid-1931, and then mid-1931 to 1933. The initial decline lasted from mid-1929 to mid-1931. During this time, most people believed that the decline was merely a bad recession, worse than the recessions that occurred in 1923 and 1927, but not as bad as the Depression of 1920-21. Economic forecasters throughout 1930 cheerily predicted an economic rebound come 1931.

Gilbert , Adele Kestler

My mother Adele Kestler is sitting and her brother Gilbert Kestler is standing for this formal portrait. She lived in St.Louis. I don’t know the name of the photographer. I wonder if the sailer suit was provided by the photographer. The only photos I have seen of my mother when she was a child were taken by professional photographers. My guess is this photo would have been taken in 1917. She was born on January 17, .1916



Gilbert and Adele Kestler

My mother Adele is standing next to her brother Gilbert in this photograph taken at by a professional photographer. My guess is this was taken around 1918 or 1919. The way the shirt fits my uncle Gilbert makes me think it was provided by the photographer. 
















A major world event 1n 1918 was the influenza pandemic.

It is estimated that the Spanish flu killed more people in 24 weeks than AIDS has killed in 24 years and more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. Hence it is referred to as “the greatest medical holocaust in history”. The pandemic which started in the final year of the First World War not only killed more people than the World War I but it killed more people than all the wars of the 20th century combined.Most influenza outbreaks disproportionately kill juvenile, elderly, or already weakened patients. However the 1918 flu predominantly killed healthy young adults. Individuals between the ages of 20-40 accounted for nearly half of the fatalities. This abnormal result is believed to have been caused due to ‘cytokine storm’ in which the immune system over responds to the threat of infection. Thus the strong immune system of young adults ravaged their bodies while the population with a weaker immune system was able to recover.
After the lethal second wave which struck in late 1918, new cases dropped abruptly. The reason for the rapid decline of the disease might be that the virus mutated extremely rapidly to a less lethal strain. Influenza viruses usually become less lethal with time as the hosts of more dangerous strains tend to die out and this might have been the case with the 1918 flu too.















Adele Kestler baby photo

Adele Mildred Kestler Dyess is my mother . She was born in St.Louis on January 17, 1916 and died on June 22, 1991. I will be sharing photos of her for about a week. My daughter Christine gave me a gift certificate to Ancestry DNA for Fathers Day and I received the results several days ago.Next Tuesday Christy is going to record an interview of me, asking me questions about my life. She is interested in learning about the history of the Dyess and Kestler families. For a couple of months I will be sharing photos of of various members of these families along with information about historical events that occurred during their lifetime.This is a photo of my mother in 1916. I would like to find out more information about the photographer Alan Wuensche.


War Ration Book cover

This is my Ration Book from World War 2. I was issued this book of ration stamps when I was 4 years old. I weighed 40 pounds and was 3′ 9″. My daughter Christy is interested in tracing her family history and wants to interview me to get my history. I have many family documents in my possession and this War Ration book and a few other ration books are in my family documents. Much of my life’s history are in documents that I have.   Even if a person isn’t interested in the study of history or the history of their family, the history of their family becomes a part of who they are. I’m interested in my family history and the history of America, especially history during my lifetime.I hope you take the time to read the information on the cover of this ration book and on the back cover. I have scanned the stamps inside that were required to buy food.

back cover of War Ration Book

This is the back cover of my ration book. Included in the information on the purpose the ration book is the warning ” If you don’t need it, DON’T BUY IT” Currently some Americans are stressed about the future of our country, including me. My ration book from this time period reminds me  to have an appreciation for the sacrifices made by Americans during world War 2.

ration stamp with canon image

ration stamp with canon drawing on it.

stamps tank aircraft carrier

ration stamps with tank and aircraft carrier.

Ration stamps with airplane

ration stamps with airplane drawing on it

(CNN)Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump called Monday for barring all Muslims from entering the United States.

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” a campaign press release said.

Trump, who has previously called for surveillance against mosques and said he was open to establishing a database for all Muslims living in the U.S., made his latest controversial call in a news release. His message comes in the wake of a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, by suspected ISIS sympathizers and the day after President Barack Obama asked the country not to “turn against one another” out of fear.


First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemoller


  • “First they came for…” is a poem written by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller. It is about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group. Many variations and adaptations in the spirit of the original have been published in the English language. It deals with themes of persecution, guilt and responsibility.

    from an article on Wikipedia

Statute of Liberty

I started this blog around 2010 with the purpose of sharing visual images, which include my drawings, paintings and photographs and the art of other people. This post is about love and compassion for children.

I am a United States citizen because I was born here. I did nothing to earn being a citizen. I served in the Army reserves from 1961 until 1967, worked for the United States Air Force as a civilian from 1962 until 1966. I vote.
below is an e-mail that I sent today to my Senators, Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill that represent Missouri.
I am a 79 year old citizen of the United States that has lived in Missouri for 79 years and have never been so sad and angry at our elected leaders about how we are treating children from other countries. I am a visual artist and have taught at St.Louis Community College at Meramec since 1997. It has my privilege and joy to have taught many students from other countries.
Would you and Senator Roy Blunt please work together to unite the children in President Trump’s detention centers. Would both of you travel to Texas to visit these children and release a statement about when these children are going to be united with their parents?
Work together as human beings and not politicians.
Do this for America and for which ever God you believe in.
I am sending this same message to Roy Blunt.
John Dyess

34 27My mixed media drawing called 34 27 is based on a photograph that I took of a train car parked on a train siding near a rural Missouri highway.

My mixed media drawing called railbox is based on a photograph of another train car parked with the train car in my drawing 34 27.

I had an art gallery opening “to Everything there is a Season ” of my paintings and drawings on May 20,2018 at the Gallery Within- Webster Groves Christian Church.
I arranged the 77 images of my art into 14 categories to explore themes of freedom, wonder, nature, and more ,accompanied by complimentary lyrics, poetry, literature and scripture. These train car drawings were in a category called wanderer.
wanderer wordNext to the train boxcar drawings was a sign with the  word wanderer and words from the song I got a name  and the song Railroad Bum Song. and words from You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe

I Got a Name
I’ve got a dream
I’ve got a dream
I know I could share it if you want me to
If your going my way I’ll go with you
Moving me down the highway
Rolling me down the highway
Moving ahead so life won’t pass me by
— lyrics by Norman Gimbel, music by Charles Fox, sung by Jim Croce

Railroad Bum Song

All around the water tank, waiting for a train
A thousand miles away from home, sleeping in the rain
I walked up to a brakeman just to give him a line of talk
He said “ If you got money, boy, I’ll see that you don’t walk”
I haven’t got a nickel, not a penny can I show“
Get off, get off, you railroad bum”
And slammed the boxcar door
He put me off in Texas, a state I dearly love
The wide open spaces all around me
The moon and stars up above
Nobody seems to want me, or lend me a helping hand
I’m on my way from Frisco, going back to Dixieland
My pocket book is empty and my heart is full of pain
I’m a thousand miles away from home just waiting for a train

“Perhaps this is our strange and haunting paradox here in America — that we are fixed and certain only when we are in movement. At any rate, that is how it seemed to young George Webber, who was never so assured of his purpose as when he was going somewhere on a train. And he never had the sense of home so much as when he felt that he was going there. It was only when he got there that his homelessness began.”
-Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again

The show will be open until July 8, 2018, Tuesday through Friday 9:00 am until 3:00 pm.
Webster Groves Christian Church is located at 1320 W. Lockwood Ave. St. Louis, MO 63122. More information about this show can be found at



CHA Country doctor

Country Doctor
This is one of three illustrations created for the 1992 Annual Report of Christian Health System. The client wanted to show a Model T Ford going down a country road. Each illustration had to depict the moon and an American flag. 

I had an art gallery opening “to Everything there is a Season ” of my paintings and drawings on May 20,2018 at the Gallery Within- Webster Groves Christian Church.
I arranged the 77 images of my art into 14 categories to explore themes of freedom, wonder, nature, and more ,accompanied by complimentary lyrics, poetry, literature and scripture.  The show will be open until July 8, 2018, Tuesday through Friday 9:00 am until 3:00 pm.

Webster Groves Christian Church is located at 1320 W. Lockwood Ave. St. Louis, MO 63122. More information about this show can be found at
wanderer word
Wanderer is one of the categories and contains a story that I wrote in 1970 about the trips my family took to visit  relatives in Louisiana. Country Doctor was one of the images in this category.

Small Town

My first long trip, traveling in a four door 1936 Chevy. My Dad always owned Chevys when I was a boy.Reading Burma Shave signs as we traveled through Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi: M-IS, S-I-S, S-I-P-P-I. A jingle my brother and I sang .As our ‘36 drove down that never ending two lane highway. Movin’ me down the highway. Through flooded roads, winding through small southern towns.

Headin’ for Looseanna.

Looseanna – Spanish moss, Pine trees, Huey Long, frog giggin’, cotton mouths, Boy, Yankees, slot machines at every restaurant and grocery store. Aunt Ada and Uncle Rudy’s filling station and grocery store.Outside the store, oil cans, bottle caps, hundreds!Reading comic books, Shazam and the Katzenjammer Kids. The old gas pumps. Why did they change those pumps -progress?

Million dollar road. A one and a half lane road, Gravel covered, dust clouding our way to Aunt Minnie and Uncle Urah’s house,In Covington, Louisiana.Never changing, ever changingGeneration after generationSmall town. —John Dyess circa 1970

My father was born in Covington, Louisiana in 1910. He drove a Model A Ford to St. Louis around 1932. He had a limited education, but by studying at night was able to become a radio engineer at WTMV in East St. Louis, Illinois. He married my mother in 1933 when she was just 17 years old.
Homeward Bound 1
This painting ,which is in the category Wanderer,  is based on a photograph that I took of a highway while driving home after teaching an art class at Jefferson College in Missouri about ten years ago. I named this painting Homeward Bound. This is a scene my father would have seen while driving to St.Louis from Louisiana around 1931.