I am posting a watercolor that I completed in 1999, the first completed watercolor from my intensified quest to become a “professional” watercolorist, rather than a novice or Sunday Painter type. The actual setting is a composite of three places I had visited throughout my life. The Switzer building I always knew from downtown St. Louis, near where I grew up (sadly that building/landmark has since been torn down). The buildings on the left margin came from New Bern, North Carolina, a town I visited only one time in the mid-1990′s, and actually used the interior of a coffee shop there (the Trent River Coffee Company) to compose a mural at Arlington Martin High School (that mural can be viewed under the “Murals” tab of my website http://www.recollections54.com).
The building on the right, with the Budweiser and Busch ghost signs, I only knew as coming from a town in Illinois. I scoured a number of those towns very early in the 1990′s with my father, but did not take good notes in my journal. Since 1999, I have been unable to tell people specifically where I found that striking building to anchor the right side of this composition.
All of that changed at Open House last Monday night. Parents of one of my A. P. Art History students were visiting with me, and as we shared our backgrounds, it was established that the father had grown up in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, near Fort de Chartes. I recognized those names immediately as two of the places I had scouted with my father during that summer excursion in the early ’90s. I told this gentleman about my painting titled “Turvey’s Corner,” explaining that one of the buildings came from a small Illinois town in his general area. Today I received the surprise email from him, informing me that he had looked up my painting on the website and immediately recognized this “phantom” building as Lisa’s Market Street Grille in downtown Prairie du Rocher!
How thrilling to meet someone who connected with one of these small towns far, far away that connected with me in my travels! Having an identity now for that building means everything to me, as I now can tell people more about the painting and what generated the idea for it. I am adding the Facebook link to Lisa’s Market Street Grille, encouraging any of you interested to check out this business. I was a patron there when I took my photographs of the establishment with my 35mm camera long ago, and still have fond memories of the place. How happy I am to re-discover the business, and I cannot wait to return some day. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisas-Market-Street-Grille/274360247861
Thank you, Mike and Karen, for providing this information for me.
And thanks to all of you for reading.