The Chimney Sweep & Climbing Boy
       
     
The Pirate
       
     
The Miller
       
     
The Deep Sea Diver II
       
     
The Haymakers
       
     
The Lighthouse Keeper II
       
     
The Milkman II
       
     
The Iceman III
       
     
The Soda Jerk II
       
     
The Lector IV
       
     
The Log Driver III
       
     
The Barnstormer II
       
     
The Chimney Sweep & Climbing Boy
       
     
The Chimney Sweep & Climbing Boy

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

Chimney sweeps have been clearing the ash and soot from chimneys since the first millennium and their task has changed little over the centuries. However, the tools they use to accomplish this task have undergone momentous change, especially when one considers that climbing boys as young as seven were employed to shimmy up the narrow flues and scrape the creosote and tar from the walls by hand. Chimney sweeping was one of the more difficult, hazardous, and low-paying jobs of that era and these climbing boys endured the brunt of those conditions, often getting trapped or asphyxiated in these abhorrent and cramped spaces. The modern chimney sweep's brush was invented in 1828 by Joseph Glass and eventually led to the outlawing of employing climbing boys. In my depiction of this occupation, a factory smokestack and church steeple loom in the distance, a nod to the roles that industry and the church played in this terrible practice (orphans under the church's care were often apprenticed as climbing boys). King William of Britain was once saved from a runaway carriage by a chimney sweep and since that day in 1066, they have been declared to be a sign of good luck, often donning a lucky 13 buttons on their coats.

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The Pirate
       
     
The Pirate

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

Pirates have been stealing cargo and terrorizing seafarers since the 14th century BC, when the Sea Peoples, a group of ocean raiders, attacked the ships of the Aegean and Mediterranean civilizations. From Ancient Greece to the Vikings to old Blackbeard himself, piracy has existed for as long as the oceans were plied for commerce. The practice has always been quite similar, with a large group of men (and on rare occasion, women) overwhelming the much smaller crews of merchant ships and plundering their goods. The main evolution over time has been the weaponry and the ships utilized by pirates, with modern sea robbers using automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades aboard small motorboats to capture their loot.

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The Miller
       
     
The Miller

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

A miller is someone who operates a mill, a machine that essentially grinds grain into flour. Millers are among the oldest of professions and one of the most important in the development of agriculture, as milling a grain allows for easier digestion of its nutrients and is much easier on the teeth. Milling was first done by hand using a quern-stone (similar to mortar and pestle) until we learned to harness other sources of power such as water, animal, and wind, as depicted. This persisted for some time until a new form of power, electricity, was utilized, making the windmill obsolete. Recently, a newer and sleeker version of the windmill has emerged in the form of the wind turbine.

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The Deep Sea Diver II
       
     
The Deep Sea Diver II

12x48 inches
watercolor, acrylic, watercolor paper on charred oak panel

Freediving for food or resources such as pearls and coral dates back to 4500 BCE. Since then, our ability to survive below the surface has radically evolved with many technological leaps along the way. One of the earliest types of equipment for underwater exploration was the diving bell, which evolved into surface supplied diving helmets attached to a waterproof suit in the early 19th century. They were supplied with compressed air by manually operated pumps and made underwater projects much more practical. Many developments followed, with a major leap coming in the form of the Aqua-Lung, invented by two Frenchmen in 1943 as the first open-circuit SCUBA system to reach worldwide and commercial success.

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The Haymakers
       
     
The Haymakers

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

For as long as herbivorous animals have been domesticated, their caretakers have cultivated grain and grass to keep them fed when they're unable to access pasture. This fodder is collectively known as hay and the folks who make it used to be called haymakers. Hay is very sensitive to weather conditions, especially when it's harvested, which used to quite a back-breaking process. Hay must be cut, dried, raked, baled, and stored. This was traditionally all done manually using a variety of wonderful tools such as a scythe, hay rake, and pitchfork. By the 1930s, most hay production was mechanized and these manual tools were replaced by wondrous machines.

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The Lighthouse Keeper II
       
     
The Lighthouse Keeper II

30x60 inches
acrylic, graphite, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained birch panel

Lighthouse keepers were responsible for maintaining the light and lens that helped ships and planes navigate coastlines safely. They were responsible for replenishing the oil in the lamps, trimming the wick, and winding any clockworks used. The implementation of electricity and other automated functions made the role of the lighthouse keeper redundant.

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The Milkman II
       
     
The Milkman II

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

Milkmen were delivery men who brought fresh dairy products to homes, typically in the morning hours. Milk needed to be delivered daily since the lack of good refrigeration meant it would quickly spoil. With improved packaging and the ubiquity of refrigerators in the home, milk delivery has become much less frequent and obsolete in many parts of the world.

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The Iceman III
       
     
The Iceman III

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

The Iceman delivered massive blocks of ice to homes and businesses to keep food in their ice boxes from perishing. The amount of ice to be delivered was often denoted with a card left out for the iceman. This entire industry was completely replaced once refrigeration was invented.

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The Soda Jerk II
       
     
The Soda Jerk II

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

Soda jerks operated soda fountains in drugstores and ice cream parlors, serving up flavored soda water and ice cream sodas. The title came from the jerking action used while working the handle of the soda fountain. Soda jerks reached their peak in the 1940s and the position was highly coveted. As ice cream parlors gave way to the popularity of drive-ins and fast food stands, the Soda Jerk and his fountain faded into obscurity.

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The Lector IV
       
     
The Lector IV

48x24 inches
acrylic, graphite, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained birch panel

Cigar rolling was a repetitive job often held by a lower class worker. To help break monotony, workers at cigar rolling factories in the late 1800s began to pool their wages and hire a lector to read to them during their shift. Lectors read news of the day in perfect Castilian Spanish, often translating English newspapers on the fly. They also read poetry, acted out novels, and would sometimes even sing familiar tunes all to entertain to lowly cigar rollers. As an unintended result, cigar rollers had one of the best educations of their class. The lectors were eventually replaced with the much more affordable radio in the 1930s, although a few still work in Cuba.

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The Log Driver III
       
     
The Log Driver III

12x48 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained birch panel

Large floats of logs used to fill the waters of the Mississippi and other rivers, as loggers had to get the plentiful lumber to port. The log driver “rode” the float down the river, dislodging log jams with his pike and gracefully dancing on the floating logs. It was a dangerous job that required strength, balance, and poise.

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The Barnstormer II
       
     
The Barnstormer II

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

Barnstormers were aerial daredevils who pushed the limits of what could be done with a plane in the 1920’s. Curtiss “Jenny” biplanes were the industry standard and these daring men and women would walk across the top wing with bags over their heads or hang from tethers dangling from the bottom wings. Barnstormers became mostly obsolete in the 1930’s when a series of high-profile crashes led to tougher safety regulations, which were virtually impossible for barnstormers to meet.

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