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I can’t remember when the rivers weren’t a consuming interest of mine. As a young boy, my father would take me with him as he would make truck deliveries to the wharf in Pittsburgh. I remember the enormous wakes generated by the sternwheelers and the blanketing smoke from the stacks of commercial towboats racing across a finish line marked by the Smithfield Street Bridge. I have images of the Homer Smith related to me in stories by my grandmother and mother. These experiences built a store of images that I have attempted to recreate in my work.
These paintings scope historic craft to modern diesel tows. The attempt is to capture the feeling of a particular scene rather than a historical illustration. I have had the good fortune to spend time on commercial tows on the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny, picking up barges and locking through dams. To this day, I can’t cross a bridge or drive along any inland waterway without scanning for boat traffic and, if possible, stop to record photographs. I intend to continue to paint the rivers and the transportation system built on them.