The Coal Miner
       
     
The Longshoreman
       
     
The Fireman
       
     
The Fire Lookout IV
       
     
The Lumberjack
       
     
The Lamplighter V
       
     
The Steamboat Captain
       
     
The Switchboard Operator III
       
     
The Gandy Dancers
       
     
The Lector III
       
     
The Pinsetter IV
       
     
The Night Witch
       
     
The Lamplighter VI
       
     
The Gas Jockey II
       
     
The Lumberjacks
       
     
The Coal Miner
       
     
The Coal Miner

24x48 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained oak panel

Coal mining dates back nearly 2,000 years when the Romans mined surface deposits in Roman Britain and since then, it has played a vital role in the worldwide expansion of industry and commerce. The Industrial Revolution was based on the availability of coal to power steam engines. All of this progress and industry has been carried on the back of the lowly coal miner. Until the invention of electric and hydraulic mining tools in the late 19th century, coal was mined underground using a pick and a shovel in intensely dangerous conditions. Coal was first hauled from the mines by children, but they were replaced by "pit ponies" after the Mines Act of 1842 prevented children under the age of 10 and women from working as underground coal miners. The first cap lamps worn by miners used an oil wick. The open flame produced by these lamps were an obviously unsafe practice and were eventually replaced by bonneted, carbide and electric mine lamps. Coal mining has become a controversial topic but its history remains an important part of our collective story.

Original Painting Available >

The Longshoreman
       
     
The Longshoreman

16x20 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained birch panel

Longshoremen have been employed for as long as goods have been shipped and their job has changed radically over the years. Initially, their task was to simply carry freight onto or off of ships using nothing but their stregnth and a longshoreman's hook. Today, everything is shipped in containers and the job mainly means dealing with cranes and other equipment used to move these large metal vessels. The word "longshoreman" is derived from "a man who works along the shore" and is related to the British term "docker". They were also called lumpers, wharfies, and wharf rats. Stevedores were in the same field of work, but typically worked aboard the ship rather than on the shore.

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The Fireman
       
     
The Fireman

6x24 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained maple panel

Firefighting has changed drastically over the years, from a line of villagers passing buckets to the sleek and powerful machines that scream down today's streets. The Fireman captures one aspect of that evolution by depicting an old handtub being pumped by hand and feeding water into the hose held steady by the Fireman in the foreground. A fire hydrant sits silently near, a subtle inclusion to show how the advent of the fire hydrants in the early 1800s greatly improved the ability of these brave men and women to fight fires.

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The Fire Lookout IV
       
     
The Fire Lookout IV

16x20 inches
acrylic, graphite, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained birch panel

Fire lookouts (and their towers) predate the United States Forest Service and became nationally numerous after the Great Fire of 1910 (arguably the largest forest fire in recorded history), which burned 3,000,000 acres in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Spotting plumes of smoke, tracking lightning strikes, and directing firefighters to the fires were among their duties. Although some are still staffed, the fire lookout has largely been replaced by cameras and aircraft.

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The Lumberjack
       
     
The Lumberjack

6x24 inches
acrylic, graphite, watercolor paper, kraft paper on charred & stained maple panel

In the early days of logging, crosscut saws and an ax were the main means of felling trees, a laborious process with these simple manual tools. With the advent of the chainsaw in the 1930's, crosscut saws became mostly obsolete by the end of the 1950's.

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The Lamplighter V
       
     
The Lamplighter V

12x23 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained birch panel

Before the widespread use of electricity, streets of most towns and cities were lit by gas lamps. These lamps had to be lit as dusk turned to darkness and extinguished as the day's light filled the morning sky. The Lamplighter was responsible for these tasks and typically employed either a long pole, ladder or tall customized bicycle, which is the way I would have done it.

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The Steamboat Captain
       
     
The Steamboat Captain

6x24 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained birch panel

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The Switchboard Operator III
       
     
The Switchboard Operator III

6x24 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained maple panel

It is a wonder that every single telephone conversation used to begin with a switchboard operator manually connecting the two parties. Women typically held these positions and manned a section of the enormous labyrinth of connections that was the switchboard. Once the rotary dial was invented, the switchboard operator's importance fell by the wayside.

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The Gandy Dancers
       
     
The Gandy Dancers

36x72 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper, ink on stained birch panel

"Gandy dancer" is a slang term for a railroad worker, referring to the "gandy", a long iron bar used to straighten out track to prevent derailments. The Gandy Dancers in this piece are traveling on a handcar, an important vehicle in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Pumping a handcar was grueling work, especially when weighted down by the tools of the trade. At their peak usage, there were over 15,000 handcars in operation in the US, but they were eventually replaced by the motor section car ("speeder") and most were scrapped during World War I & II

Original Painting Available >
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The Lector III
       
     
The Lector III

36x36 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper, graphite on stained birch panel

Rolling cigars all the live-long day is boring, monotonous work. So, to keep themselves entertained, workers in the cigar-rolling factories of Cuba and Florida would pool their wages and hire a lector to read aloud to them. Lectors would read newspapers, books, and even act out plays. Their most important tools were their booming voice and their creative delivery. Eventually, factory owners deemed lectors as dangerous as they would sometimes read left-wing publications. This caused them to replace lectors with radios by the 1930s, but this fascinating story lives on in this dramatic piece.

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The Pinsetter IV
       
     
The Pinsetter IV

24x48 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper, graphite on stained birch panel

The Pinsetter IV combines the enjoyment of bowling with the intriguing history of the young men who set the pins. Pinsetters endured obvious hazards on the job, dodging pins and bowling balls hurled by mischievous men. They were often teenage boys, as the job was a low wage and part-time gig. The mechanical pinsetter, an incredibly clever machine invented back in 1936, eventually replaced the need to hire manual pinsetters, although there are still a few alleys in the US that still employ them.

Original Painting Available >
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The Night Witch
       
     
The Night Witch

12x36 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper, ink on stained birch panel

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The Lamplighter VI
       
     
The Lamplighter VI

24x48 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained birch panel

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The Gas Jockey II
       
     
The Gas Jockey II

18x36 inches
acrylic, graphite, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained birch panel

In the early days of the automobile, full-service gas stations were commonplace and gas jockeys were the jovial workers that served as their lifeblood. From pumping the gas, checking the oil, and cleaning the windows, gas station attendants would take care of all the motorists' needs with a skip in their step. A series of oil embargos in the 1970's made prices soar and pinched the majority of full-service stations out of business, even though they remain legally required in New Jersey and Oregon.

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The Lumberjacks
       
     
The Lumberjacks

12x24 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper on charred and stained birch panel

In the early days of logging, crosscut saws and an ax were the main means of felling trees, a laborious process with these simple manual tools. With the advent of the chainsaw in the 1930's, crosscut saws became mostly obsolete by the end of the 1950's.

Original Painting Available >