The composition of this particular painting gave me a bit of trouble. The positioning of the buildings represents the existing 1930’s era station in the foreground and the Victorian station in the rear or in the past. I learned that in actuality the Victorian station was to the south or to the right of the current station. If you visit the station you can see the space between the trees and the buildings. I tried several times to make the composition accurate by having the Victorian Station in the foreground. It just wouldn’t work so I finally returned to my first thought.The railroads had a huge impact on the settling of the west so this was an important part of the story to be told.
While designing this painting a real serendipity occurred. I was speaking wishfully about the image of the train stations and the possibility of having an old train ticket to help as a transition between the old and new stations. Not two days later, Bobby McDearmon came in the gallery and asked me if I’d like to have an old ticket to use as reference…it seems he was talking to Lisa Ackerman, a friend and shop keeper around the corner and she had been here when I was verbalizing my wish. He specializes in historical ephemera and has an extensive collection that is Orange based. The rail ticket he loaned me for this piece was issued August 1, 1892.
|The Citrus Industry|
Whereas there was a dearth of information and images for some of the paintings, this subject was so rich in material that my job was to make the difficult decision of what to include. Since the Santiago Packing House was at one time the largest Valencia packing plant in the world, their label became the largest image in the painting. Choosing a packinghouse proved not only difficult but rather uninteresting shape-wise. The truck became a representation of all the packinghouses, was interesting and color-wise was a real addition once I found out what color this old truck was. Pictures for this project were almost all in black and white so I called on friends with expertise when needed. The grove, fading off into the distance filled the outer areas of the piece and lugs of oranges with the addition of a picking sack filled the lower left hand corner nicely. This composition has some personal meaning since I grew up on groves in San Diego County and was well acquainted with the equipment. And adding to that connection, my neighbor for many years was President of the Santiago Packing House.
Agriculture and animal husbandry that was not citrus is the theme for this image. A tall vine of grapes frames the painting, which includes apricots, walnuts, avocados, grain, chickens, row crops, dairy cows and pumpkins. The pumpkins were a late addition. I had purchased a new book of Orange Place Names by Phil Brigandi just before I began the paintings. At one time West Orange was called “Pumpkinville” by the residents. I needed another warm color and decided to include the fall squashes.
As I said in the first blog on these images, they are part of placques outside part of the perimeter of the library building. People need to be able to grasp the meaning of the image and have time to read the brief history also on the placque. All the original paintings are framed and on the second floor of the library next to the history room.