24″x36″ Oil on canvas
Contact me for price at CokerArt@yahoo.com
“True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.”
-Jean Cocteau, French poet, novelist, painter and filmmaker, 1889-1963
First of all, thank you to my good friend from Texas, Cooper Yaun, one of the coolest people on the planet, for bringing that wonderful Cocteau quote to my attention after my previous post. Thanks, Coop!
So, as promised, here is one of my recent industrial (train) paintings I mentioned in my last post. I did this one last summer. I took my trusty Canon and 300 millimeter lens to my local train yard and began framing (composing) photos of the broadside of locomotives and rolling stock by looking at all quadrants of the engine, searching for abstract shapes and designs that appealed to me. One word of caution; if you find yourself suddenly overwhelmed by the urge to shoot photos of trains, make sure you mind the laws and safety rules. All railroad property is private and it is against the law to go on the property, not to mention dangerous. Railroad police do have the power to arrest and they will. Hence, my mention of my “trusty 300″. I sit on public property and shoot till the cows come home… or the trains, as it were. Be safe out there.
This piece was a study in design and texture for the most part. Norfolk-Southern Railroad’s livery colors are black and white, so to add a bit of color and strengthen the design, I framed the loco with a rich, blue sky. Painting the world of trains up close and personal in a fairly large format really emphasizes the scale and brute power of the real thing. As I said in my previous post, I have plans to go way larger with these and can’t wait to do a really large piece.
Painting realistic pieces, whether it be trains, cars or flowers is as much about observation as it is in the actual act of painting. I have long been interested in trains and have spent many hours in the field observing them. So I have a pretty good working knowledge of the subject and really enjoy the almost endless amount of detail within the abstract shapes. They are amazing pieces of modernity. I have had many people ask me how I can stand to spend so much time focused on those details. The time spent painting these behemoths is a total joy for me and the ultimate escape, but somehow, those details have become so much more to me. I’m constantly asked “why trains?”. I find them to be the perfect metaphor for a life lived. I thrive on painting the side of a sun-bleached locomotive that has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles for years and accumulated a life of dust, road grime, graffiti, and rust, hauling our daily household items that we take for granted to market. There’s life in that and I find it very much worthy of the endeavor of painting.
So, I continue to seek out the truth in realism with each painting completed, as far as my abilities will allow. This piece is entitled “Workhorse”, in part, due to the fact that Norfolk-Southern’s mascot is a Thoroughbred, but also because of the undying service that old SD40-2 has provided since it was built in 1972! -Enjoy!