At times, I stood with a group of onlookers. It was not the usual carnival con game where you wished for a stuffed animal but were given the consolation prize, another Chinese finger pull. In fact there were no prizes. No, it was unusual even for a carnival. Perhaps that's why oglers of all ages were attracted. As a 10-year-old, I was first charmed by the scent of the oil paint; the allure was as enigmatic as the greasepaint of the circus. It enflamed my romantic imagination, and I wished I could join the carnival and live in a trailer.
The attraction? An artist from Pittsburgh, Kansas traveled with the carnival that came to the Osawatomie, Kansas Fair each August. She painted several, canned landscapes similar to Bob Ross. However, each time she painted a scene a second time, it was always different than the time before. Her husband created inexpensive wooden frames and wrapped the finished piece (still wet), in a newspaper for the new collector to take home. I believe that a number of those paintings were hanging in Kansas homes.
I always elbowed my way through the crowd to get a close-up view. Oftentimes, I overheard a viewer denounce a brushstroke, "Oh no, she's ruined it," hoping the artist was deaf to the insensitive comment. She likely did not as she was focused on her task and talked about painting as she worked.
I was definitely intrigued by this artist and still remember standing along the rail of her booth and watching her endlessly.