Friday, August 26, 2011

Basil Biggs, Step 2

Made a little progress -- at least it's easier to tell this is a horse! So far I've not been able to find photos of the buildings on the south side of the first block of York Street. Next week I hope to get to the Wills House where there's a new diorama that shows the buildings that were standing on streets close to the square in 1863, and it sounds as if it's very well-researched and accurate. In the meantime I'm working on some small landscapes of the Gettysburg battlefield that I may post. If we get the fringes of Hurricane Irene here in Gettysburg over the next  two days, I may have a lot of time for blogging! Who would've guessed we'd get an earthquake and a hurricane all in the same week?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Battle of Gettysburg/Gettysburg Civilians Series: Basil Biggs

Not much to see with this composition, yet -- in fact, you may have to look at the enlarged view to understand what it is. The only portion that shows color, at this point, is the -- um --"hindquarters" of the horse. The scene is a depiction of an event which occurred prior to and shortly before the Battle of Gettysburg: the evacuation of the town's black population, among them a farmer by the name of Basil Biggs. Understandably fearful that the invading Confederate army would take them prisoner and send them south into slavery, the local African-American residents either hid or made their way out of town to presumably safer locations.  Biggs fled town, on a borrowed horse, heading out York Road as he could see the Confederates filling the town square from the west.

I have a little more research to do, to determine what buildings were standing along this stretch of York Road in 1863, besides the Lutheran Church that I have roughly indicated to the left. But I thought that posting this very early stage would help jumpstart my progress on this piece. The composition is 16" x 20", rendered on museum board with colored pencil using a traditional dry layering, sharp point-scumbling technique.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to Work

This post title would seem to imply that I haven't been working, which certainly isn't the case! What I'm really getting at is that recently I've been posting previously completed works that relate to 1861, as 2011 is the 150th anniversary for that year. Now I think it's time to get back to my original primary intention for this blog: posting newly-completed works and work-in-progress.

In keeping with my Civil War 150 Project, and to have an image to submit to an upcoming exhibition at the Clara Barton National Historic Site entitled "The Art of Clara Burton", I completed the above image in colored pencil on Canson Mi Teintes paper (color: Sand), Study of Clara Barton. I'm still learning about Ms. Barton and I'm sure will do more works that feature her in the years to come, since she played such an enormous role in the Civil War. This piece was an effort to study her facial features and see what I might learn from them by working closely with two of her Civil War era portrait photographs. Ms. Barton's first involvement with Civil War nursing was the result of her witnessing the wounded and dying soldiers brought back to Washington (where she worked at the Patent Office) after the First Battle of Manassas, something which would have been occurring approximately 150 years ago.