While enjoying a little downtime after all the hustle and bustle of the Home and Garden Show, I came across an old photo that brought up a lot of happy memories…
It was long ago, and I was the young mother of a precious little girl, Brittany. It was early 1990, but as you can see, I still had my big 80’s hair going strong, not to mention my very fashionable 80’s sweater coat!
I had just had my first big commercial success with “Meet Me Under Kaufmann’s Clock,” and I was getting ready to paint the second pastel in my Pittsburgh series. I had already made up my mind, and there was no doubt what my next piece was going to be – the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning.
When I visited Pittsburgh as a 17-year-old high-school junior in 1975, I was awestruck by that amazing building. It made quite an impression on me as my eyes followed it as it loomed upwards into the sky.
But the part I loved most was on the inside, visiting all the Nationality Rooms. At the end of the tour, I caught a glimpse of a roped-off room that was closed to the public. I couldn’t resist getting a closer look. My eyes were dazzled by this room that looked like something from the Arabian Nights, covered in gold.
I loved all the other beautifully painted rooms, but this one was the one that really got a hold on my imagination. I will always remember it as if it were yesterday.
So there I was, 15 years later (early spring 1990), standing outside the Student Union building, watching as the last rays of sunlight slowly dwindled. I waited patiently as the sodium gas lamps along the paths began to light up ever so slowly until they were fully aglow… and then as the Cathedral lights cast their reflections on the one side of the building, glowing orange against the stone. Waiting for all these elements was necessary to set the tone I wanted for the painting.
The subject of the painting was a rainy evening, so I had a young man from our church pose for me with an umbrella, and I painted him with a girl under one of the lights. I had also painted a poor unfortunate soul sitting on the bench in the rain and getting soaked. I ended up feeling so sorry for him that one day I actually took him out of the painting.
Later that night, my very observant husband pointed out that I had created a hole in my composition and needed to fix it. I immediately responded, “Okay, when we get home, put on your raincoat and hat, and I’ll paint YOU in there!” And that was how I began the tradition of painting Tom into all of my city scenes.
I worked hard to finish “Walking in the Light of the Cathedral” in time to have prints available for graduation season. My little daughter and I spent a lot of time there together… so much in fact, that one day as she was sitting in her car seat behind me as we drove onto Forbes Avenue, she pointed and yelled “Mommy! There is your building!” I think she thought I owned it, I laughed so hard and said, “Yes honey, there it is.” Because in my heart, it will always be “my building.”
P.S. Graduation time is here again! A print of “Walking in the Light of the Cathedral” would make a wonderful gift for your graduate or any Pitt alumnus.
The giclee edition is available online and through my studio. Limited edition prints are 17 ½“ x 13 ¾” at $175.00 (edition of 400). Artist proofs are $225.00 (edition of 40). There are also Artist-Enhanced prints, highlighted with pastels, 23″ x 18″ at $400.00 (edition of 150). CLICK HERE to learn more about this painting.
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