Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Acorn in Annapolis

The subject matter of this commissioned piece is departure for me. The focal point of the painting is the golden acorn atop the State Capitol building in Annapolis, MD. Built between 1772 and 1779 it is the oldest State Capitol in the country still in use.

In 1996, when scaffolding had been erected to replace some windows in the tower, officials had discovered that the original acorn was dry rotted throughout. There was no practical way to save the 5 - foot - 8 - inch tall, 700 lb wooden structure. It would have to be replaced. The wrought iron lightning rod/flagpole, built to Ben Franklin's specifications, was seriously unstable.

The 208 yr old acorn was removed. The new structure was built of 31 horizontal "slices" of cypress wood, constructed the same as the original. The acorn was then encased in a copper sheeting and painted gold - its original color.

My palette was comprised of cool blues, turquoise and grays to help compliment to the warm colors of the golden orb. Once the drawing was transferred to the canvas all of the architectural lines were purposefully painted without a ruler (except for the flagpole) to give it an aged and settled look. This in direct contrast to the new shiny slick surface of the acorn. The highlight on the acorn is the whitest white on the painting. The pigeons were added as a compositional element as well as an organic element.

This painting was commissioned by a member of my wife's (our) family and one of the contractors who made this happen. Salute!