Today I went on a field trip to the science center with my fourth grader and her class. It's been a while since I was downtown, especially during the day. I'd forgotten how sculptural the city is as a whole, the inner harbor areas in particular. There's is something wonderful about living near one of the oldest cities in the continental U.S. Did you know that Baltimore was the New York City before New York City was? Jerome Bonaparte, the younger brother to Napoleon, was married to a woman named Betsy, from where else but Baltimore? Of course, Napoleon didn't like his younger brother being married to someone less than royalty and actually split them up before their first and only child, a son, was born. Betsy spent the remainder of her life trying to establish her son's good name and reinstate him into the circles of French Royalty, but Napoleon would not allow it and therefore, the child was never recognized. And that's just one cool story. Check out Fort McHenry, Fells Point, etc. and there is much drama to be discussed. This city is thoroughly steeped in history, and the counties surrounding the city of Baltimore are chock full of history as well. You can still eat mussels outside at Middleton's Tavern in Annapolis and talk politics where Jefferson ate and talked politics.
Anyhow, I have a show coming up and it has an urban theme. I'm going to Bangkok in two weeks and thought of shooting a bunch of photos there to paint for my show. Then, I went to Baltimore today and wondered why the hell would I wait and paint Bangkok next month, when I can paint Baltimore today? We have the old factories juxtaposing brilliant chrome and steel, every shape, and even every color (i.e. the old apartment building from the 60's/70's at the butt end of 83 south with the different colored windows). We've got the Domino's sugar building, numerous boats in the harbor next to massive shopping areas abutting financial centers and posh hotels. Had I not been in a caravan of three buses with forty-four screaming ten year olds, I would have taken my photos of the cityscape, in the morning sun, and be done with my search for subjects to paint for my show. I suppose I will have to drive down to the city on Saturday morning and revisit the streets then. I saw enough interesting things to paint while bouncing up and down on that bus, to have at least six new pieces by the middle of May. Wish me luck.