Back Alley Guthrie ~ Building Blocks

What is the first thing you notice when you look at this painting?

When I first saw this back alley site I noticed the stair step formation of the rooftops…it reminded me of building blocks, as in the wooden blocks you play with as a child… That is actually what inspired me to attempt this piece, plus the beautiful arches.

The front of this building isn’t nearly as exciting as the back. Here is a photo of the front…

As you can see, it is the new home of Byron Berline’s Fiddle Shop, the old one up the street on the next block burned down a few years ago. An article with very interesting photos and a video about the fire and the history of the original building can be found here. Sadly, Guthrie also lost it’s most famous world-renowned fiddle player this last year in 2021. I’m including a link to an article about Byron Berline here.

This building was built in 1907. The stone on the top says “19.W.H.Coyle.07”. W. H. Coyle is an interesting character from what I was able to find out about him. He came to Oklahoma during the land run in 1889 and invested in quite a lot of property in and around Guthrie thinking that this would be the state capitol. There is an excellent 5 part article called The Capitol War about what really happened when “they” stole the state seal from Guthrie and made Oklahoma City the capitol. It mentions W.H. Coyle and his stand against the governor and secretary of state.

“In Guthrie, the residents weren’t taking any chances. At the same time they sought help from state courts, they also turned to the Federal Court for help. On June 13, the Associated Press reported that a Guthrie property owner, W.H. Coyle, filed an application for a temporary injunction in federal court “restraining the state officers from moving state records to Oklahoma City or transacting official business at Oklahoma City.” Those complaints, documents show, rested on the argument that the election, itself, was illegally called and that Haskell’s action had no foundation or authorization in state law. “The action of the governor and secretary of state were revolutionary,” Coyle’s petition said.”

Charles Haskell was the governor at the time. One Guthrie newspaper had this headline about him, “Czar Charles Issues His Imperial Ukase At New State Capital.” Honestly, that is how it seems like this governor was acting, not as an elected official serving the people, but a dictator. I don’t know how people get away with things like this. Sounds like it was as bad back then as it is now.

Here is a depiction of Guthrie from 1889, only 9 months after the land run. Notice the block layout of the town… Again, we have Building Blocks. 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this little tidbit of history from Oklahoma. Any of you that are history buffs will really enjoy reading the 5 part article I mentioned above. The quotes are from there.

Not sure where I’m going from here, but I need to do one more painting for the series… That way I’ll have twelve and perhaps a calendar for 2023?

For those who are interested… a peek into my painting process. 🙂

Back Alley Guthrie ~ Nestled

This small one story building is nestled between two larger ones, hence the title… 🙂

“Nestled” 12″ x 12″ oil on canvas

This structure is to the left of my previous painting, and as I mentioned before there is a better view of the Guthrie Post office in the background. The front of this building has a large sign saying Hurley Plumbing. According to waymarking.com , it was built in 1928. I’m going to borrow a photo from them to show the front…

I’m guessing they remodeled the front probably in the 60’s to modernize. The old buildings are so gorgeous I don’t know why they did this, but at least the back alleys still show some of the antiquity.

Here’s a photo of the back that I used when painting in the studio…

Yesterday, I revisited the site to see how the sun might be shining out here in the morning hours. For the first time ever the corrugated metal gate was closed. And according to the signs they definitely don’t want anyone getting too close.

I have one more back alley building to work on and a smaller project of an old handle that I will be sharing soon.

Be back later… 🙂

Back Alley Bicycle

As you know if you have been following me here, I have been working on a series of paintings of the back alley buildings and whatever else I find in the historic town of Guthrie, Oklahoma. When I saw this bike leaning against a railing it sure caught my attention.

Here’s my sketch…

Here’s the painting…

Back Alley Bicycle oil on panel 8″ x 10″

The geometrics is what really inspired me, plus the black railing against the Terracotta color of the wall. Terracotta means “baked earth” and this color is rich in Guthrie in all the bricks used on the historic buildings. You can even see it on one of the old buildings as you peek around the corner on the right side of this wall.

What really intrigued me too was that this bicycle looked as if it was used every day, but the plant growing out of the crack in the pavement actually had wound itself in the spokes of the wheel.

I hope you enjoy inspecting the elements of this painting.

I have been sick for quite a while with this long drawn out virus. My motivation has been extremely impeded, but I hope to be getting better and getting some more work done on this series.

I’m excited about the Trucker’s Freedom Convoy and I hope it will spark a fire that will bring an end to unjust tyranny around the world! Wouldn’t that be incredible!

Praying that God will be with them all… and you all…

Painting Painters

My second inspiration on Back Alley Guthrie is not really a back alley, but when we walked past this building being painted I totally fell in love with the look of it all, and there is a little hint of a back alley on the left side. 🙂

Painting Painters 12″ x 16″ oil on linen

Those windows on the left side of the second story… I would love to stand up there and see what that looks like from inside. What do they have a view of from up there? The birds on the roof… The vines growing out over the awnings… leaves turning shades of brown and red, which brings me to the potted autumn decor on the far right under the mailbox of the building next door. So many fun little details.

Hope you enjoy taking a look. 🙂

Abandoned Grain Elevator ~ Guthrie, OK

For a long time I have wanted to do a series of paintings called Back Alley Guthrie. Guthrie was the first capitol of Oklahoma when it became a state in 1907, but not for too long. In 1910 the capitol moved to Oklahoma City and Guthrie was forgotten, but well preserved, so that now it is the largest Historic Preservation District in the nation. Here’s a great article with pictures that I found while researching … Only in Your State

Guthrie has some amazing buildings, but not too many people go around to the back to see what treasures are hiding there. Driving around town one day looking for old historic forgotten back alleys, I came across this abandoned grain elevator down by the railroad tracks. And this became my first inspiration…

“Abandoned” 12″ x 16″ oil on canvas

Some paintings are such a delight to paint and this was one of them. I love the way this turned out.

More to come… 🙂