Part of my duties as the Vice President of the McCarthy – Kennicott Historical Museum is to volunteer for a couple hours a week at the museum. So, over the years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in that building, looking at artifacts and at black and white photos from the late 1890s – early 1900s. One day I decided to make an oil painting from two black and white train photos that I saw at the museum. As anyone can tell by looking at my paintings, I like to use bright colors, so I went to work trying to recreate the photos in color. There was no way for me to know what color things should be, but being in the same setting where many of these photos were taken, gave me a pretty good idea.
Recently, the museum asked me to design a new sticker, so I looked through many photographs of the Kennicott mining town back in its hayday, and put together the painting below that I named First “Lode”. This depicts the first train load of copper pulling out of Kennicott, on its way down to Cordova and onto a steamship headed to Tacoma. I worked from several different black and white photos to put together this scene. Seeing today’s ruins of Kennicott was very helpful in helping me decide what colors things should be. In the future, I plan to make several more paintings like this based on those photos hanging at the museum. Creating large, colorful oil paintings from small black and white photographs highlights those historical moments, bringing more attention to them. In any case, I’ve stumbled onto an interesting new genre that I’ll be experimenting with.
Here’s one example of a train oil painting that I did based on a black and white photo. Prints of this painting are for sale at my Etsy shop.
Another example of a train painting. Prints of this painting are for sale at my Etsy shop.
And this is the latest piece that I painted from a combination of photographs and my imagination called First “Lode”. Prints of this painting are for sale at my Etsy shop.