Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A new, very old book - Pictorial History of the American Revolution

I found this book in a used book store in Charlottesville VA and quite frankly forgot about it with everything that has been going on. The "cover" for the spine has come off, but it was saved. Other than that I think its in reasonably good shape for a book that is about 134 years old.

Looks like someone received this book as a gift in 1885. I'm using that date as the publication date, kind of figuring that you would give a new copy of the book as a gift.

The only date I see on this page is 1847. If that's the publication date then its older than I thought. But there is the odd line that says Twenty Three Thousands and I'm not sure if that is the number printed so far or what.

Nice map of the Bunker and Breed's Hill

A fold out copy of the Declaration of Independence

And the back six pages are used for advertisements!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Chester the Rooster - Pt 8 - And Still More Feathers

The more feathers I paint the more there seem to be. Over the course of the last couple of days I have pretty much completed the head, neck and chest feathers. I was quite pleased with myself till I looked back along the body and its seemingly endless supply of feathers.

These were the colors I was anticipating using during this round of painting. I ended up adding Prussian Blue, Cobalt Blue and Pthalo Green to the mix as well.

Here I feel like I have finished up the head and neck on the romance side. I'm contemplating bringing the yellow down farther though. Will mull that over.

Here I have worked on the wing, and the body feathers. the first layer is green and then blue under that,

A closer look. The wing feathers need some highlight yet.

In the front I brought the green a bit further down.

And the same level of progress on the money side.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Chester the Rooster - Pt 7 - More Feathers

Still working slowly on the head at this point. The money side of Chester's head is pretty much done, maybe some touch ups but that's about it. I worked on the front (below the peak) and on the romance side last night. Pretty rough at this point but it should only take another hour or so to get it to the "finished" point.

The money side

From the front, which also shows some of the difficulty created by the lighting conditions in the living room.

The romance side, roughed in.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Warehouse Row - "Where is this?" Figuring out a photo location

Among the Railroad Commission photos in the Cornell University Digital Library is this one:

In the Cornell description it just says its probably in downtown Denver. I knew that couldn't be the case since by this date (1960) there were no tracks in downtown Denver, only in lower downtown Denver. Since I had been focusing on Warehouse Row on Wynkoop St I was pretty certain it wasn't in that area, tracks down alleys just don't exist in LoDo. So it became a bit of an obsession to figure out where this particular photo was taken.

My first thought was it wasn't even taken in Colorado, its that unusual a location. The Cornell site really allows you to blow up the photo and I could just make out the license plate on the car just right of center. While you can't read it you can make out enough to figure out it is a Colorado license plate. So at least its in Colorado and most likely Denver, but certainly not downtown.

The one clue that really does standout is the viaduct, just about guarantees that it is in Denver (there are no viaducts that I'm aware of in Ft Collins or Colorado Springs), but which one is it? I know from its construction that its not the 14th street (Speer) viaduct, nor 15th or 16th or the 20th street viaducts. Its definitely not Lawrence or Brighton and probably not the 23rd street viaducts. That pretty much leaves the southern viaducts, 13th street, 8th Ave and 6th Ave. Pictures of the viaducts are actually somewhat hard to find so I settle on it just being south of Cherry Creek so 13th St, 8th Ave or 6th Ave.

Another clue is the sign on the wall in the lower left which says "Notice Spot Tank Car Here". That and the unusual loading dock would indicate that it must be a manufacturer that receives tank cars but certainly not a refinery type operation, more likely some kind of food or beverage operation. Not much of clue at this point, but important later on.

Signs are usually the big clues, if you can read the whole sign. Partial signs are harder to work with. Above the viaduct on the left side you can see a painted wall sign. You can definitely read "Dry Goods CO" on the top row but not much on the second row; "Sh" ..... fidence" with the bulk of the phrase broken up by the top of a neighboring building. Zooming in you can just make out what looks like an "R" just before Dry in the top row and a good guess on the "fidence" lettering would be confidence.

That "R" is the key, because the big dry goods company in Denver, at the time, was the Denver Dry Goods Company which happens to have the slogan "Shop with Confidence". Great! Except that the Denver Dry Goods Company occupied a huge space in downtown and that location was not rail served.

Final clue is the track configuration. The boxcars are of no help, you can't read any reporting marks on them and even if you could you wouldn't be able to tell location from those marks. Time to go back to the Sanborn insurance maps. One thing I discovered is that you can look up businesses on the index page for the volume being referenced. I started with the 1929 - Dec 1951 maps (which is the 1929 map with paste ups for changes in 1951). There I found that Denver Dry Goods (The Denver) had three locations; Dep't Store (sheet 19), Garage (sheet 82) and a Warehouse (sheet 80). This seemed a little to easy but I went to Sheet 80 and there was a good candidate for the photo. There is an alley between Wynkoop St and Wazee St with 13th street on the "north" end. No indication of the viaduct in 1951 but the 13th St viaduct was built after that date so that's not an issue. Track configuration is right, "The Denver" warehouse is in about the right spot, the short building in front of it is likely the Empire Casket Works and on the "west" side is the D&RGW Freight Depot. What isn't shown are the buildings "north" of 13th street. Fortunately the sheet for that section is listed right on sheet 80 and in this case its sheet 3.

Sheet 3 is mostly made up of the area north of Cherry Creek which includes the area from Wewatta to Wazee Streets, including the end of Warehouse Row on Wynkoop Street. I already had a copy of this sheet in my folder since it was the latest map of that area. On the "south" end is a little corner on the south side of Cherry Creek. This little angle is the "north" end of the alley way. On the "east" side is Brecht Candies on the "west" side is another Weicker Storage & Transfer building. For me this is pretty solid evidence that I had found the actual location of the photo. It even shows the funky little dock that separates the tank car location from the rest of the building.

And as an added bonus the Brecht Candy Company building is still there, with a helpful sign showing where the loading docks are (left side).

And here is the front of the Denver Dry Goods Warehouse. I haven't found pictures of the back side, unfortunately.

Here is the clinching photograph.

This is the Colorado Casket Company, the building next door to the Denver Dry Goods Warehouse. Above and to the left is the sign that helped narrow down the location of the Cornell photo. Puzzle Solved!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Chester the Rooster - Pt 6 - Starting on the Feathers

Now the real hard part begins on Chester working on the feathers. I spent an hour working the colors down the feathers on the money side, which is the side you can get away with a few mistakes. The color change isn't to bad but it needs some more work before I shift over to the romance side. Still not bad work.

There should be four fairly distinct changes of colors in the feathers when its done. Looking at the "model" those changes occur in bands of color that can cut right through the middle of a feather which I find rather intriguing.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Chester the Rooster - Pt 5 - A little Red a little Yellow...

A little more work on Chester over the weekend. With the body finally blocked in I started the finish work on the head. Essentially finished all the red work and the beak. The beak probably needs a little touch up yet, but overall I'm pleased with the results thus far. At this stage I worked with a combination of tube oils and enamel paints. To make the enamels a little easier to handle I transferred them into jam jars. That essentially means that when I spill I will spill less paint at once. And yes I did manage to spare part of the jar full of Raw Sienna paint. The spill was definitely minimized by the smaller jar!

This is where I started the day. Again just blocked in colors with a bit of blending,

The reds about mid way to being finished, the blending is pretty rough at this point.

Blended reds and a yellow beak now. The beak still needs a bit of work.

Jam jars filled with enamels and tubes of oil paints

The brushes. I opted for craft brushes at this point. This type of painting is incredibly hard on brushes, especially the stippling brushes. Once you have a stippling brush broken in so its not shedding so much its just about ready to give up the ghost.