February 19, 2009

The Shamrock Hotel

In my last posting, I included an image of my painting of an abandoned courtyard adjacent to the Shamrock Hotel in Blackville, South Carolina. I have also painted the facade of this building as well. I did not originally set out to paint it as it looked too monumental for my usual subject matter. But when my husband and I met with the director of the Rivers Rails and Crossroads Discovery Center in Blackville last autumn to discuss an exhibition, she asked us if we might include images of the Shamrock Hotel.
When requests for subject matter are made, it can be difficult to warm to the subject at first. In this case, especially, the building in question was not much more than a shell and we wondered what the local attraction to the place could be. It appeared to be more the stuff of history and imagination than substance. While photographing the front of the building, however, the sun briefly opened through the clouds and struck the multicolored grasses which had grown up within the interior of the building. When the colors shone through the empty arches they gave the impression of stained glass cathedral windows. I could see immediately what the glory of the old building must have been when bathed in color. I painted this moment in oils on a small oak panel.
Despite the current economic plight, the citizens of Blackville hope to one day rebuild the Shamrock Hotel. It would be a gorgeous site if they could. For now, there are paintings, photographs, postcards and the audacity of sanguine expectations.

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