The title of this painting is “4116” just one of the many RS’s from Alco Locomotive Works in the fleet of regular service for the Delaware and Hudson Railroad. I’ve always loved these engines taking pictures from the early 70’s throughout NJ, Pa, NY, Mexico, and New England in whatever paint scheme they would display. The picture that served as the subject was taken by Tony, my husband, and is part of his vast collection as a former employee and admirer of the railroad. I am fortunate to have use of it for my painting but still rely on detailed photos from friends who are authors of D & H books.
Trains are very difficult to paint. The “devil is in the details” every step of the way. It is decidedly more perplexing to know how many parts of an engine, wheel set, hose assembly, or venting should be added than any subject I have ever painted. I started this painting over two years ago and shelved it. After our model railroad open house in October, I decided it was time to give it one more try. I was still plagued by the complexity of the features of the engine. I took new photos from the original projected slide and went to work using my Photoshop program to enlarge it so as to clarify what was hiding in the shadows of the original. In the painting, I chose only the most obvious and hinted by shadow some of the others. What I found most curious was that in adding these details, my painting became more an extension of the rail enthusiast that I have become over the years. I reflected on the location, Greenwich, NY and remembered many cherished visits, some 40 years ago, from riding the Battenkill RR with my late husband, to walking through nearby rail yards to take photos for future work this past fall. I’d spent so many hours involved in the development of the painting, It had to be finished! After some 40 hours of work, this is the result. There still may be a few “tweaks” but I’m happy with how it feels.
For 2017 I have set a goal for myself to paint only railroad themed subjects as a series. I’ve collected a vast array of photos, books, slides, and a Fogg pictoral for influence. I will try to use all those hard learned lessons from my many watercolor instructors to improve the quality of my painting. Being told to “paint what you know” and paint every day will be my challenge as I start a new year. Enthusiastically, I look towards painting the next engine, switch stand, crane,or station.