Happy New Year! I am happy to be here, creating these posts for you. If you have followed along each week so far, thank you for that! If you have popped in briefly only catching one or two, thank you for that as well. What I like about writing these weekly posts, is that it keeps me thinking and learning, while also keeping in touch with you on a regular basis.
The first painting that I am to kick off the new year with, is a piece about a little local history. One of the things I love about Silverton, is the town’s love and respect for it’s History, which they proudly show in their many murals displayed around town. There have been many influential people who have made their positive mark on the world such as an astronaut, a world champion bull rider, a famous actress, and a world famous political cartoonist named Homer Davenport, who I will focus on today.
Homer Davenport, was born in Silverton in May of 1867. He loved to draw animals (mainly horses) and people since a very young age and was given every opportunity to pursue his art. As a result, he became one of the highest paid and loved political cartoonists in the world. He traveled widely, and made many notable friends such as the world champion boxer Jack Dempsey, and hosted many elaborate parties attended by Thomas Edison, Buffalo Bill, Frederick Remington, Ambrose Bierce, among others.
Davenport’s talent as a cartoonist allowed him opportunities to travel widely, and his interest in horses lead him on a quest to the Middle East, where he acquired 27 Arabian horses which he brought back to America for breeding.
Later in life he became a very good lecturer where he shared amusing stores about his life, his adventures and his career. His drawing demonstrations “brought frequent outbursts of applause”, according to an article in the Oregonian published on April 12, 1904, Page:3.
I find Homer’s life deeply inspiring. His life was full of adventure, exploration and artistic success. He wrote two books, The Country Boy and My Quest of the Arabian Horse, Cartoons by Homer Davenport, compiled by Gus Frederick (2006) and his illustrations appeared in many publications and books such as the New York Journal.
More on exactly what I will be painting at a later date. For now, I wanted simply to introduce Homer to those of you who have never heard of him before, or didn’t know much about him. I feel lucky to have so many resources within walking distance of where I live. I can flip through many of his original drawings at Silverton’s Historical Society Museum, I can visit his burial site, and Geer Crest Farm, where his family lived and is open to the public today. Silverton also hosts a Festival in his honor every August called Homer Days. Ulan and I are both working on paintings about Homer, and I can’t wait to share more with you all in the coming weeks! I have other paintings in the works as well, so we are off to a good start.
For those of you perspective students out there, both my drawing class and Ulan’s painting class is full, but Ulan and I will be teaching a two-day portrait painting workshop in Salem on February 23rd and 24th and there are still spots open for that. It will be a fun weekend. I hope you can join us! You can learn more about the workshop here.