Leonardo da Vinci

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

--Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, February 10, 2012

Academy Ruins Series

Academy Ruins III
One of my favorite things about the city of Vancouver,WA is its wonderful historical architecture; and of the list of great structures, my all-time favorite to paint is the old laundry building at The Academy.
The brick behemoth, that has been condemned for a number of years, may not be suitable for human habitation anymore, but its rugged character and adorable charm make it a painter's and photographer's dream. It's beat up brick, run down trim, and broken windows make it a joy to paint. All i have to do is pick the time of day, set up, and sling away.
Academy Ruins IV
There are so many compositions that i want to paint here, that i think i could use this building as inspiration for a number of years. One of the building's finest assets are it's exterior conduits. Along with the dormant ivy, the old pipes - that seem to run like a maze, make for some fun lines and add an interesting strength to a composition.
This scene here, in painting IV, i have had my eye on for a while and i am likely to paint this view again.
The Academy Ruins Series is turning out to be very special to me and i have three rules for it:
1) Must be 6x8 (or 8x6)
2) Must depict this building only
3) Must be painted plein air, alla prima
I am excited to paint other scenes of this building in larger format; they just won't get the unique tag of, Academy Ruins.


  1. Lovely paintings, Michael! My writer friends would be impressed with your description of the historic structure..."brick behemoth!"

  2. Just came across your blog and love, have become a follower.......follow mine at http://thewrongplaceatthewrongtime.blogspot.com/

    Great to connect


  3. Vicki beat me to it...I want to compliment you both on the painting and the writing (behenmoth is such a suitable word!) It is amazing you got the grand scale on a 6x8! (awesome colors too)

  4. Lovely rich painting and brushstrokes, love how you enthusiastically explain about this historical building.

  5. The brick behemoth is definitely an attraction. I can understand your fascination. These paintings are very unique in their focus on the state of the building rather than its place among others. I love ruins--And I love flags, the colors,the stripes playing inthe wind. Yours made me think immediately of Jasper John and Childe Hassam. I must say I favor Hassam's beautful,impressionistic, lively paintings where the viewer can hear the trumpets and bugles play. Jasper John's weren't as complementary, I suspect.

    1. Thanks all for the wonderful comments, they are much appreciated. And i agree, Hassams's work is amazing.
      I have thought of doing larger scenes that incorporate the flags. Matter of fact, the painting that inspired the flag portrait series was of the Grant House on Memorial Day weekend. I have just never blogged about it, maybe i should....

  6. Lovely paintings! I love the colors and sense of texture.