Tuesday, April 6, 2010
"West Leigh and Hancock"
8" x 10"
Oil on Canvas
$150 includes ShippingThis is the corner of West Leigh Street and Hancock Street in Richmond, VA. The neighborhood, known as Carver, was founded in the 18th century. The centuries following have witnessed vitality and decline. Within the last two decades, however, conservation and redevelopment efforts designed to encourage "urban homesteading," have slowly begun to revitalize the neighborhood. The expansion of Virginia Commonwealth University and the construction of new, Victorian-style, town-homes funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development with first time home buyers in mind continue to bring new life to the area. Reader input on the history of the area is appreciated.
I visited Richmond Easter weekend - my brother lives in Carver so I stayed a block away from the location featured above. I woke up early Sunday morning to go running and I brought my camera along, hoping to take some photos of the City for painting. I did not take the particular photo on which this painting is modeled. That photo belongs to Taber Andrew Bain, a local Richmond photographer with a knack for capturing the scenes that epitomize a city/location, particularly Richmond. Here is his blog link: http://x31.org/. There is a link to his FLICKR Photo Stream in the blog too. Check it out.
I did take some photos of my own that I plan to paint from, but I'm drawn to this scene for sentimental reasons (my brother lives there) and because the Victorian style buildings are so representative of the neighborhood. I didn't try to perfect the lines of the buildings, or the shadows or highlights, and if you zoom in and really look at this thing, it probably looks a little messy. That is somewhat intentional...I do not believe that perfection is not an accurate representation of the neighborhood, or the city.
I don't know what it is about Richmond that draws people to it. It's not a large city, it's not a modern city, there are no professional sports teams, oceans or mountains. My brother says it's the grittiness, the edginess, the imperfection of the city that draws him to it. To me there is a sense of community in Richmond that I have not witnessed elsewhere. Maybe the grit and the imperfection and the sense of community are related. The long time Richmonders recognize the imperfection, but they have such an appreciation of the city's history that they stick with it out of blind devotion.