Fractured Utilities – inspired by “street covers”
My love of what I call “Street Covers” began when I lived in an older part of Springfield. My daily walks around the area were enhanced by my love of the old architecture and plantings in the area. But the walk was becoming rather boring once I used to seeing all of this, beautiful though it was. That is, until I discovered the wonderful design and textures of the water meter and gas covers placed in sidewalks and grassy strips along the streets. I began looking for different styles, sizes and designs in these lovely, but necessary covers.
Harry Cooper Water Meter
Gas access cover
On my walks, I began taking a camera to photograph the street covers. Several photos of these lovely covers were added to my “inspiration” file for future reference.
For several months, I tried to decide how to add some of these to my watercolors, which was the type of artwork I did at the time. But the industrial nature of the covers and the lovely flowing nature of watercolors did not seem to be compatible, and I could think of no way to effectively put them into a painting.
Since then, my husband, Don, and I have moved twice and the idea was forgotten.
But, behold!, when I began doing acrylic abstracts, I was searching my computer in my “inspiration” photos folder for fodder for another painting when I came across these lovely meter cover photos. And I was thus inspired to try once again to insert them into a piece of artwork – this time a bolder acrylic abstract.
Neenah Foundry cover
After walking the new neighborhood several times, I found several of the same meter covers I had seen on the north central side of town. Although there was more variety and many older, more interesting ones in our old neighborhood, the new neighborhood still had some very interesting covers….enough for an acrylic abstract collage.
Finally, I remembered to take some parchment paper and a couple of sets of water soluble oil pastels along for the walk. I’m sure people passing by, as well as any neighbors who happened to look out thought I was slightly addled! I would sit on the sidewalk, or grassy area – sometimes even the edge of a lawn – place my parchment paper over the meter (after brushing and blowing away debris) and rub away with my crayons. Several rubbings of street covers in the area were made in various colors.
Street Cover Rubbings Placement – one idea
When I got home with my rubbings in hand, I took a 24×36″ canvas and, after tearing the rubbings into large and small pieces, began arranging them onto the canvas. When I was satisfied with the composition and color placement of the pieces, I photographed the canvas so I could refer to it when gluing on the pieces.
The torn rubbings were removed and my photo was used to place and glue the pieces onto the canvas. Left to dry overnight, the collage/abstract acrylic was ready for some acrylic painting. I decided to mix some colorful grays to simulate the sidewalks in which many of these street covers had resided. As you can see in the final painting at the top of this post, these grays ranged from a cool lavender to a warmer mix with some burnt sienna in it. The edges of all of the collage pieces were covered with paint to help make sure they were integrated into the painting.
When finished, the painting was left to dry for several days before receiving a couple of coats of UV protective spray varnish.
There you have it! Fractured Utilities – an inspired colorful acrylic abstract collage of street covers.