Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Everyone living in Coos Bay or Bandon, knows about our bridges. You cross them to get into town, you see them in art at almost every show, they are everywhere.

Why? What is it about those bridges that makes them such compelling subjects?

It could be all the angles and lines, that has always intrigued an artist’s eye, it could be the way light and shadow play along the metal works, or maybe it’s the juxtaposition of man’s puny efforts smack in the middle of Nature’s wonders. Maybe they are just neat.

Artists have always been in love with bridges. Even my fraternity, photographers find bridges fascinating. Yes, even the fictional ones. You remember “The Bridges of Madison County”?

But why limit your choice to just one architectural structure? There are shapes in all sizes and colors just waiting for you to come along.

Maybe you’re Dutch Mostert and ships and things nautical call to you. We have a bunch of ships just waiting to be immortalized. There’s one ole girl down in Charleston harbor half sunk and not long for this world. Better get a move on before the Coast Guard decides to haul it off and bill the owner for the cost.

But maybe the thought of venturing into Dutch’s bailiwick scares the beejesus out of you. It would me; he’s just too good for me to want to take him on fair and square. No I’ll try someone else’s genre and wait until I am much better before I wander into Dutch’s private preserve.

Maybe you feel the same way, so don’t despair; there are hundreds of structures Dutch won’t be painting.

Our city fathers are trying mightily to revive downtown in spite of all of the evidence that downtowns just don’t work any more. When the waterfront was the hub of all activity here in Coos Bay or Empire or Bandon a centralized business district made a lot of sense. You brought your goods to the wharf, off loaded them and either re-supplied your business, tucked something away for a rainy day or squandered your money on the pleasures a waterfront offers. No, I won’t you know exactly what I am talking about.

But today, the waterfront is primarily for tourists, the casino and the sea plane rides and precious little comes in in hard goods or shipping. The town has lots of roads, Newmark with Wally World and Ocean with Kmart, even though no one seems to notice. It makes perfect sense that the business of business moves where the people are. Yeah, I know Albertsons and Blockbuster jumped ship, but the heart of the new downtown is still there at Newmark and Broadway.

So there’s no hope for downtown. Don’t be silly, there are dozens of building with interesting facades and great histories just waiting for you to make them immortal. The Egyptian theater, last of the Art Deco theaters on the coast, waiting for attention, money and art, you could do the ole girl a solid and has some fun for yourself with a painting before it is gone forever.

What about the abandoned building all around town. Yes, it would be nice if some enterprising Young Turk would put a business in the, but are you willing to wait for that to happen? Why not paint one and get it out where the real estate brokers never venture an art show?

Every single thing you can see is a potential subject, from a sunken boat to an abandoned building. It is your choice what to make into art. So what’s your pleasure?

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