Friday, December 19, 2008
In particular I have found the number of old churches endlessly interesting, churches that have been in use for generations.
This particular church, the Eubank Baptist Church, I photographed the first year I was in Kentucky. While it was no longer in use as a church, it was still being used for meetings. An imposing building on a corner at the main intersection of the town, it had been a landmark for the residents for many years.
Sadly, it was torn down just a few years after I took the photographs, age and a lack of repairs making the building no longer safe. Many people I spoke to during the demolition were sad that it was no longer going to be a part of their lives and even now you will often hear residents say it just doesn't seem right to not see the church on the corner.
These are the kind of buildings I enjoy documenting, whether they are still in use or have passed on into memory. I often find myself wishing that they had voices and I could sit and listen to the stories, as I've listened to the stories of some of the "old timers" as they remembered events in their lives. How much could we learn by listening!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
My plan is to continue this series with several of the larger images such as "Red Silks" shown in the previous post as well as a number of smaller pieces that will be in the same style.
These are images that I enjoy doing. The kaleidoscopic colors and the tension and speed all contribute to an electric feeling at the track in person, whether it is the Kentucky Derby or a small County Fair track in Montana. The horses shine from the efforts of the groom's brushes and the wash of nervous sweat as they tense from the knowledge they will soon be racing.
The sense of ceremony is impressive in the TV specials and in the grandstands at the big racetracks but in some ways my memories of the small County Fair races in Montana are even more vivid to me. There you can stand at the side of the track, in some cases less than 50 feet from these powerful animals as they lunge from the starting gates, hear the thud of the hooves on the track and the snorts of effort as they reach for their maximum stride.
These are the things I remember the most clearly as I work on these images and in fact there are even individual horses, seen just once on a race track 40 years ago, that remain clear in my memories.
This image is the first piece I did after my move to Kentucky. After a year of watching television specials on the Kentucky Thoroughbred sales, the Triple Crown races and a visit to one of the big horse Thoroughbred breeding farms where I actually got to lay hands on a stallion whose stud fee was more than I had paid for my farm ... nothing other than a racehorse could have possibly been my first drawing when I started working on my art again.
The brightly colored silks of the jockeys caught my eye in all the races on television, which led to my experiment with the addition of colored pencil in this piece. Somehow, it seemed as if the color and movement of the "big time" races here in Kentucky were more dramatic and required more in an image to catch the eye. I was pleased with the effect in this piece and have continued to add colored pencil accents to my graphite and carbon pencil studies more often in much of my recent work.
"Who's been sleeping in my bed?" was always my first comment when I caught him ... and he always responded with this very typical Rottweiler expression, flattened ears and the "oops ... must have been sleepwalking again" look.
He was the epitome of the working Rottweiler, intelligent, attentive, quick to respond and selectively sensible about his duties. He travelled with me hauling horses and he was my shadow at home.
This is probably the most detailed pencil portrait I have ever done, hours went into the shading on the satin coverlet surrounding him, but it was for me, definitely a labor of love. The portrait hangs on my wall and will always be one of my most cherished possessions.