When I was young, the area in the home where dads displayed what little decoration they owned was known as the den. It was always pretty basic and minimal. Maybe a deer mount or a fat largemouth bass. You'd sometimes see a photo or two taken on some hunting or fishing trip, but that was just about it. My how things have changed. The in-home craze known as "the man cave" splashed onto the scene a few years ago (I don't know when exactly but it seems fairly recent) and there was suddenly a need to cover four walls with manly man items. Well, to be fair, it's more likely three walls because one is almost always occupied by a gargantuan flat screen TV. Not that I see a problem with that. But I will say I have limited myself to one television in my space. I have a few friends with multiple screens mounted around their special areas, which I admit is a bit intoxicating and I sometimes suffer from TV envy, but I digress.
So the modern man cave has opened the door to some new ideas and trends heretofore not really considered in home design. If you are a fan of the hit TV show American Pickers, you see Mike and Frank buying all manner of wrinkled, tarnished, and rusted "stuff", that they will resale to someone looking for additional appointments for their man cave. Any sort of old sign seems to be acceptable, but anything related to the auto industry is much preferred. Aside from the signage, autographed jerseys are another popular item to add to the room, along with the ubiquitous "girly" calendars. And the list is ever expanding. So Old South Art is looking to help out in a small way by offering some framed collage art that was conceived with the man cave in mind. We also have some other prints featuring outdoor scenes that would be great in this setting. But I don't wish to limit these prints to just the guys. I know plenty of outdoorswomen who may want to add these pieces to their special place, and I'm certainly all in favor of that. So if you have such a spot or are planning a future one, then consider some appropriate artwork to help establish the bona fide feel you're looking for.
I'm planning to add some additional work in this category so please keep an eye out for that.
RICHMOND, VA - CHRISTMAS SHOW
Craftsmen's Classic™ Art & Craft Festival
October 27, 28 & 29, 2017
The Gilmore Shows' Craftsmen's Classic is coming soon and Old South Art is excited to be a part of the largest art & craft festival in the state. As always, the event takes place at the Richmond Raceway Complex with plenty of free parking and three buildings of original work to see. You can visit www.craftshow.com to get an admission ticket discount. We hope to see you there. Please plan to drop by and say hello.
Maybe I'm reaching, but I sure think the world would be a much better place with more dogs around. If everyone could feel the love and devotion that comes from their very own dog, I'm guessing violent acts would be cut by more than half. Mean thoughts would pretty much dissolve away. Even that wicked, anonymous social media bashing that is everywhere nowadays would dwindle away to nothing. No matter how rotten you're feeling, all it takes is a tail wagging, four legged canine buddy of your very own to shower you with unconditional love to make everything feel better. Dogs don't hold grudges. Dogs don't have ulterior motives. Dogs don't pretend to love you. I've had the great fortune of having many wonderful dogs throughout my life and I can't think of a single time when any of them was anything but thrilled to see me. Believe me, it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with how terrific dogs see the world. Once they become a part of your family nothing makes them happier than just being around you. If you're super busy and don't have time for them on a certain day - they understand. Play time gets cut in half because you have other obligations - they understand. To them, it's all about the moment. They live for that.
I guess I draw dogs so often for these reasons. It just makes me happy. And since Old South Art is designed to rekindle favorite Southern memories, I try to focus on dogs that I typically see as Southern favorites. I know golden retrievers and labs are popular everywhere, but they do have a certain old South feel to them. Even if you have other breeds, you undoubtedly have neighbors and friends with retrievers. And of course the good old blue tick hound just screams old South. I know many folks who are "cat people", and cats surely have a long and distinguished legacy as Southern citizens, but they don't quite attain the status of our beloved dogs - at least not in my eyes. Your dog looks you square in the eye to greet you. Your dog's tail starts to wag as soon as you approach. In my experience with cats, they are a bit prone to giving you the cold shoulder if they are not in the mood to entertain you. Never a dog though.
Try to find any other friend or pet as loyal. You can't, unless of course you have another dog.
Old world maps have so much more character than any produced today. You know when you look at an old map that someone plotted every inch, converted it all to the proper scale, and then made it fit onto a canvas while including all the little details. And then there's the border patterns and the compass rose. Some of those are as elaborate as the maps themselves. It takes time, to be sure, and that's why it's no longer a popular technique. It's hard to make money when it takes forever to get a job done. I get that. But you just can't beat the style.
When I was a small child, my family lived on the banks of the Pamunkey River. Later, we moved to the Chickahominy River. I have great sentiment and passion for both places. As the years streamed past, that passion has only grown. I have spent countless hours on both rivers as an adult; fishing and duck hunting. I always feel both nostalgic and at home whenever I'm on either river, and for the longest time I wanted to honor these two beauties with maps worthy of framing and displaying . The problem with this idea was selection. The only real maps to pick from are folding, paper maps used for navigation. As a well seasoned boat operator, I can promise you these types of maps are invaluable. They perfectly illustrate the safe lanes, the questionable flats, and the definitely-stay-away-from-here spots that will ruin your day if you run over them. I would not operate a boat without a reliable navigational map. Still, as important as these maps are, they kind of look like a booger when unfolded and hung on someone's wall. I've seen them in many places over the years and I'm sure you have too. While I salute their passion and desire to show off their favorite waterways, the net result is cheesy at best.
This is why I decided to make my own maps. I knew the style I wanted and I knew how to use Google Earth, so off I went. I started with my two favorites and since have completed a few more. They are now offered here at Old South Art, and I have already received requests for a few additional bodies of water. I do plan to continue map making in the old world style, so please keep an eye out for those. And as always, if you have a specific request, just let me know. While my renderings are accurate, I am not an aspiring cartographer, so please continue to use your navigational maps for their intended purpose. My maps are focusing on the waterways themselves, but do include any meaningful landmarks and major roads around them. But the body of water is the center of attention for me.
And by the way, if you happen to be one of those people I mentioned with the crease-filled paper map unfolded and displayed on your wall, please know I don't mean to offend. But I do want you to know an alternative now exists!
I have always been fascinated by old, worn out barns. While some may be on the verge of collapse, they still exude great character. In fact, the closer they are to total failure, the more interesting they are. I think my fascination began as a small child during my family's annual visit to my grandparents home in North Carolina. They were an austere couple to be sure. Their house was small, listing to one side a bit, and very rustic. There was no electricity, no running water, and no means of heat other than a monstrous wood stove perched in the center of their house. I still remember the first time my older brother dared me to touch the darn thing, and I of course took the challenge. I only needed to fall for that once.
Behind the small house sat a collection of out buildings, typical of the assortment you find on rural farms. I was interested in them all, but the two story barn was my absolute favorite. Even back then it was already a rickety collection of gray wood, spider webs, and pungent aromas from all the animals that had called the place home over the years. Playing inside that old structure was like going to an amusement park for me. I could climb and plunge into mountains of hay. I could corner and terrorize mice and snakes. I could grab any implement I was strong enough to hoist and pretend I was fighting pirates and assorted other enemies. I could do all sorts of things, but without question the thing I enjoyed most was the dirt factor. I could (and did) get filthy dirty rolling around in there. There really wasn't anything else for a young boy to do, so I tended to spend the majority of my day in and around the old barn.
Now, fifty years later, I am still fascinated by old barns. I just like looking at them. Often while I'm in the car, I'll pull over and just take in the view of an old barn that has all the right decay and lean. I'll take a picture or two just for myself. I don't trespass but I merely admire from a distance. This is what inspired the black and white barn sketches I do today. In my travels across Virginia I keep a watchful eye out and, if safe, I pull the car over and take a few quick photos of character rich barns. I hope to cover the entire state and maybe even neighboring states and find a barn to represent all of these rural anchors that many of us grew up around. Please check out the "Barns of Virginia" prints available at oldsouthart.com. And keep checking back for new additions.
Old South Art is a producer of original artwork, focusing on southern themes. We are based in Central Virginia and are developing images from this great state as well as our neighboring southern states. The map renderings are offered as an artist's viewpoint, and while they are accurately drawn, they are not intended for navigational purposes.
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