Blade Creek Grist Mill

In 1991, when we were living in the San Joaquin Valley, in Porterville, California, someone had given me a calendar that contained a photograph of Blade Creek Grist Mill (which is located at Babcock State Park, in West Virginia). At the time, I was doing quite a bit of tole painting (mostly on wood, in acrylics) for our decorative arts business Wood ‘n’ Word. I was also learning to translate some of my drawing efforts into paintings.

When David (who was then working at Sierra Forest Products in Terra Bella, just south of Porterville) brought home a couple of broken sawblades, I decided to try painting on them. Unfortunately, I lost most of the photos I took of those efforts, when one of my hard drives died a couple of years ago.

This blade, though, was a Christmas gift to my mom that year, and when she passed away a few years ago, I reclaimed it. I took a picture of it to share here.

The broken sawblade was lightly sanded to allow paint to stick to it, then I painted it a light gray. Upon that background, I painted the scene I had earlier drawn from the calendar photograph. That photograph only showed the mill and barely a glimpse of the water. So I invented the rest of the scene to fit on the metal blade.

I was experimenting, at the time, with a wet-on-wet technique based on what I had been learning from William Alexander and Bob Ross, from watching their TV shows. I hadn’t yet tried oils, because I’d always had a hard time with the odor of turpentine, so acrylics were still my best bet, even though it’s a bit harder to do wet-on-wet paintings in that media. I hope you like my early effort. 🙂

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