Oil on canvas, 24×30”. In 1986, while visiting Europe, I waited one morning on the departure platform at the train station in Limerick, Ireland, sketchbook in hand attempting to capture a fragment of the moment. Skies were hazy as the sun burnt through the spring air with long shadows cast by ceiling lights interspersed between “I beams”. My sketch helped to punctuate the contrast between the daily overcast skies and the bright landscape, natural and that constructed by hand. After returning home a few weeks later, the painting was started. Though not content with the result, I set the work aside until recently. In answering the question “why did I wait so long to complete the painting?” the simple reply would be that it was not meant to be, and now was the time.
A longer answer would include my decision to modify the original painting to create additional movement and a more interesting composition. In the original sketch I had displayed only one figure (the standing man). All around him was a mass of solid yellow, save the shadows. To increase movement I added the other figures, which created interesting negative spaces through the yellow floor. The exaggerated bent arm of the women closest in the foreground helps to pull the eye inward, parallel with the diagonal green train and station building. An additional diagonal, the blue ceiling, is contrasted by the strong orange of the wheel chair, allowing for the eye to bounce back and forth between these complementary colors. Interspersed circles (sun, wheelchair and dolly behind the “I beam”) played with the strong lines, which I hoped would move the gaze of the viewer like a bouncing ball.
Lastly, I was motivated to complete the work in time for submission to the Rogue Gallery and Art Center’s annual Celtic Traditions exhibit, which can be seen as part of a temporary display through March 18th.