Exploring the small mining town of Miami Arizona is an enchanting experience. The architecture is a hodgepodge of styles and ages. Decrepit adobe structures, well over a hundred years old, crumble bits of stone. Century old wooden buildings shed their skin like the local wildlife. Shacks erected upon the skeleton of buildings past become a patch-worked mess of every known building material. Newer houses, neat and proper, sit perched atop the hills of each small valley that snakes off the main road of the 1 mile long town, a sharp contrast to the dilapidation below. Amid the variety of buildings, no two being the same design, is a visual rainbow of colors. The buildings become like Easter eggs, sitting in a basket of the dusty green foliage of the Arizona high desert. A rich history of a town full of variety begged to be painted.
From the perspective of an artist, each building presents a unique opportunity. The textures of the old materials and flaking paint allow for unique applications of paint, and combined with the natural landscape affords for bold and varied brushwork. The clean air of Miami creates brilliant blue skies and striking colors throughout the day, and the late summer brings overcast skies with subtle beautiful grays. Each building, commercial and residential, is unique, interesting, and beautiful. As the most interesting buildings are those closest to decay, my goal was to capture and preserve their historic nature and fleeting beauty by executing 100 paintings of the faces of these buildings.
Each painting is completed alla prima (or all at once), and en plein air (outside). Taking to the streets and hills of Miami has led me to some of its 1800 residents, and speaking with them while completing the paintings, I discovered the fascinating and sometimes sordid history of the town. The stories supply a backdrop for many of the paintings, granting a chance to discover in more detail from the locals their personal history, as well as the stories of the town. I soon discovered that through painting these fascinating structures, which are indeed beautiful enough to merit attention with their own aesthetic, I had begun to paint a portrait of a town, and bit by bit bring together the stories of a community while nestling myself within the 120 year old history of Miami, Arizona.