Things change. And so did the hotels in my Hotels to Remember project. As I wrote, took photographs, and painted, I had no idea how quickly hotel facilities are renovated and transformed.
All the paintings in my Hotels to Remember coffee table book were created using a favorite material of mine, soft pastels. A few years ago while we were visiting famous and historic old hotels, I began to paint images of the rough and weathered facades of some and the shiny jeweled surfaces of others. I loved watching the paintings grow on the tinted Canson pastel papers. As I became more involved in the project, I realized I had far too many hotels to include in just one book.
The Royal Hawaiian "Pink Lady" was cast aside. So was the Princeville hotel in Kauai. I took out La Samanna in St. Martin, SuperClubs resorts in Jamaica, Orient Express hotels in New Orleans and in Charleston, South Carolina. There wasn't room for them in my book, so I put aside photographs and slides I had taken on site and stored them in a large box in my writing studio. I placed the pastels I had already painted in my flat files storage unit in the painting studio closet. I would come back to them soon, I assured myself as I added even more material from Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre in Quebec to my stash.
Then I realized it was probably too late to start work on More Hotels to Remember. After all, when you are dealing with the hotel industry, things change quickly. Renovations take place. Buildings are altered with entrances shifting, properties doubling in size and much more.
Only the side trips remain the same and the locations. You don't transform the Grand Canyon when the El Tovar seated on its edge is upgraded. The charming little town of Harper's Ferry, West Virginia does not vanish when the Hilltop House Hotel closes. The St. Louis Union Station remains the same even though the hotel property switches hands.
Each hotel in my book is actually a "Snapshot in Time". A wise writer pointed out that fact to me. My publisher was quick to pick up on the premise and created "Snapshot in Time" books for a few of the hotels in the Hotels to Remember project. I added some new materials for the side trips, and realized that even closed hotels are a part of history.
Many of my "Snapshot in Time" paintings are now on view at Dara LeBlanc-Haynes' Mathews Country Galleria on Brickbat Road in Mathews, Virginia. The gallery is open now on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
|Dara LeBlanc-Haynes in her Mathews Country Galleria. ©Mary Montague Sikes|