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Baton Rouge, Louisiana – LSU – Allen Hall Murals

25 Sep

18 ft by 15 ft Fresco Mural Painted in the Late 1930s by Carol Brown Dietrich Under the Direction of Conrad Albrizio. It is Located Under the Northeast Portico of Allen Hall at LSU in Baton Rouge.

LSU has a beautiful campus.  Aside from the million cars trying to park, there is art and history and architecture and natural wonders all over the campus.  It is a joy to pass under the large oaks around campus and to witness the flowering dogwoods and the many azaleas.  Of course thousands upon thousands  visit Tiger Stadium and the Assembly Center and of course Mike the Tiger.  The quadrangle offers a park like setting in right in the middle of the main part of the campus and many students enjoy that environment between classes or just to sit a spell and relax and talk.  When students head into the buildings around the quadrangle the thoughts get more serious and classes become top importance.  When walking to and from classes it is hard to notice and to appreciate some of the great art work that is exhibited to students on a daily basis.  Allen Hall at LSU has some of the best fresco murals that can be found and I must have walked by these murals a hundred times without really taking notice.

Back in the 1930s and 1940s the late Conrad Albrizio, LSU’s first professor of painting and an internationally known fresco painter, guided 5 undergraduate art students as they painted history onto the walls of Allen Hall.  Sue Brown Dietrich, Jean Birkland McCandless, and the late Roy Henderson, Ben Porter Watkins and Anne Woolfolk White painted panels for an interior mural at the east end of Allen Hall.  The restoration of the interior murals and another exterior mural was undertaken to celebrate the university’s 75th Campus Jubilee in 2001, which commemorated the 75 years LSU has been located at its present site.  The exterior mural was also painted on the wall outside the northeast portico of Allen Hall but it was painted over in the 1960s.  Well, that explains why I never noticed the one outside because it was after that I attended LSU.

A Section of the LSU Allen Hall Murals. Cotton and Hand Labor were Important Parts of the States Economy When the Murals were Painted.

Sue Brown Dietrich painted the fresco under the portico. The mural was Dietrich’s master’s thesis project.  Approximately 18 feet wide by 15 feet high, the mural represents the importance of both education and hard work. It depicts two men, one smaller crouching under the arm of another larger man, and a large red-headed woman embracing a child. A huge wheel, representing industry, forms the backdrop.  It took Deitrich eight hours a day for a month to paint the mural.

My photos do not capture the beauty or the work entailed in the murals nor the scope of their size.  They truly are works of art and then some.  They have to be seen in person to be appreciated and everyone that I know, that has seen them, has been fascinated.  It is best to visit on a weekend since the press of the students makes it hard to sit and contemplate as one “reads” the mural.  I can’t remember why I passed through Allen Hall just a couple of years ago and really noticed the murals for the first time.  After viewing them for a long while I then stepped outside through the northeast portico and gasped at what I saw.  Great works of art for all to see and appreciate at LSU in Baton Rouge.  If you are on campus it would well be worth your time to see the wonderful murals in Allen Hall.

Timber and Waterways and Fishing are Integral Parts of Louisiana's Economy and Culture.

Albrizio was an international known fresco painter and was a perfectionist for fine work. He used the same techniques as the Italian fresco masters in the 15th and 16th centuries. The LSU murals compare very well to the highest quality frescos in Italy.  Also there are more murals in Allen Hall awaiting restoration.

Amite, Louisiana – R.C. Davis Studio

2 Aug

RC Davis Adds Final Touches to His Latest Painting

I like to ride over to my visit with my friend Chris Davis in Hillsdale, which is near Amite, Louisiana.  It is nice to sit with him and discuss items of the day while he diligently paints at his easel.  In the meantime I stay busy petting his three terriers and a heeler.  The dogs like the large easy chair in his studio as much as I do.  The studio has changed some over the years but I notice that the smell of turpentine and linseed oil and other aromas no longer fill the air and that is something I miss very much.

Many of those that know the art scene in the Gulf South know Chris as RC Davis.  Heis one of the best known artist in the region and known for his paintings of the rural parts of South Louisiana.

Davis's Brush Works Quickly Highlighting Areas of His Painting

He also has a love of the Louisiana Coastal areas and when he is not painting he is often headed for the Louisiana Coast to fish for speckled trout and to enjoy the entire area of what we call the marshes and coast.  On occasion I accompany Chris to the Gulf Coast and I love to see the water and the marsh and the birds and to do my best photographing these things mostly from a moving boat.  In fact I spend most of my time doing that while Chris fishes or is figuring out how to get the boat out of shallow water. Ha, sometimes I wonder why he tolerates me because it is more work for him – maybe I should take the fishing more seriously and the photos less so since it is impossible to get a great picture while bobbing and weaving around in the water.  But a photographer has the delusion, or the hope, that somehow he will still capture a wonderful scene.  Well, I guess they all are amazing down in the Coastal part of Louisiana even if a little blurry.  Each image has a special memory to me regardless of what it looks like.

However, on the day of this visit Chris was finishing up what he calls his “Pelican Piece.”  He said that he loves the pelicans along the coast and that he thinks of them every time he thinks of that area.  They indeed are a beautiful bird and it seems that they dominate the skies and activities when we are out there.  Chris has done Pelicans before but the oil spill has been weighing heavy on his mind lately.  We do not know the fate of the birds and fish and dolphins that we so dearly cherish.  We do not know the fate of the marshes where we spend a great deal of time.

I think that Chris is missing the Gulf so much that he is painting part of his favorite memories.  When down there one learns to feel that the pelicans and dolphins are indeed friends and he is missing his old friends.

The Pallet For the Pelican Painting

During one visit to the coast we headed to the marshes to anchor and bed down for the night.  A trio of dolphins followed us into the marshes – they had followed us while in the Gulf.  All during the night they would surface and exhale the air from their air holes and at times the blasts that would awaken us.  It happened many times that night but it was a beautiful thing and was not bothersome at all.

Before daylight one of the dolphins pounded on the boat with his tail.  Now that woke us up!  We noticed a bad storm coming in from the Gulf and thought that it would probably arrive at about time the tide was out.  I think that dolphin was telling us that they were leaving as bad weather was on the way and that they were getting out of there.  We should have left when they did.  We got caught in the middle of the storm, out in the Gulf, and before long waves were going over the boat.  One hit me directly in the face.

All of these things were going through my mind as Chris added highlights to his pelican picture. One of the merchants, that carries his paintings, thought that the darkness along the shore was too reminiscent of the oil spill.  The sun was going down in the painting and of course the shore area had shadows, but no oil was in this image!

Chris decided that he could add highlights to the shore and to the water near the shore and his brush worked quickly with white and blue paint as we talked.

Rainbow Greets Us as We Hit the Road with Pelican Painting

He finished up pretty quickly and the painting was placed in the back of his truck and we headed down the road to show it to his brother.  As we pulled into the driveway we noticed a rainbow in the distance even though we had not seen any rain.  We thought we could get a better view in a open field just down the road and so we, along with the painting, headed to the field.  When we arrived there was a rainbow that stretched all across the sky and we could see both ends.  What a sight.  I wonder if it will one day show up in a future painting of RC Davis.

I plan to do a post, in the future, on his gallery.  It is a gallery that he created from an old chicken farm barn.  If you wish you can visit his gallery at this link: http://www.rcdavis.com/.  I just looked at his website and the new piece has been posted.  It is named Gulf Flight.

Let me say that my photographs are just snap shot images and in no way exhibit the wonderful color and superb artwork for which Chris is known.  My images are just here to help tell the story.

New Orleans, Louisiana – Around Town

22 Jun

Well, I thought I would make a post of nothing but images from around New Orleans. When in the city there are plenty of unique and pretty signs, houses, people, and everything else one could think of to take a picture.  However, getting these images formatted on a blog page as I would like them to appear has turned out to be much more difficult that I thought. In the beginning I had wanted these pictures spaced nicely in a tight arrangement. For now they will appear centered and in a neat line.

Good Eggs Are All Over New Orleans

In The Quarter

Falstaff Beer Brewery

Buttered Up In Some Parts of Town

If You Like Olives!

Taking a Rest in Metairie Cemetery

Only Female Women of the Opposite Sex Admitted Here

Andrew Jackson Does Not Ride Off Into The Sunset