Night at the Baker Heritage Museum
--This piece was originally published in 2015 but has been updated for the new blog format.
Early 2015, I received an invitation from Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, to come tour the Baker Heritage Museum. I, along with many other artists, went, and found inspiration for art in the artifacts, exhibits, stories, and people dressed and in character, at the museum. Upon entering the museum, one of the first people I met was a woman wrapped in a red feather boa, with a feather fan in her hand. Her real name is Elaine Logsdon, but her character's name was Diamond Lil. I imagined she had been a burlesque dancer in her youth, and now perhaps ran her own saloon and theater. I am sure she could tell some very interesting stories! I knew I had to paint her, and knew her personality would shine through on the canvas.
I decided with the other paintings I made for the museum, to be more creative in the composition. Instead of painting the entire object, I chose to crop it in a way that would be visually pleasing. This wheel is from a very large wagon---some time of fire wagon. It had very large wheels, which dwarfed the seat. I saw a great composition with the center of one wagon wheel, with the spokes radiating outward. I didn't think about how complicated all those spokes would be to paint, but I was pleased with the result after all the blood, sweat, and tears. I call it Well-Spoken.
The last painting is a simple Dazey butter churn. I discovered this on the upper level of the museum, where they have many exhibits showing different eras and rooms, full of interesting artifacts. Even though the butter churn was outdated when I was a child, my mother and my sister (when she was married) each had one, and I can remember making butter on them a time or two. I love painting the illusion of glass and metal, and this one had some interesting reflections in it caused from the lighting in the room.
These paintings were displayed in a collective show for the museum at Crossroads in the month of April of 2015. I was fortunate enough to sell Diamond Lil, but the other two, as of writing this blog, are still available for sale on my website, www.dancingelephantart.com.