Saturday, October 20, 2012

Recent Work - "The Depot : Arrival"

ladytrainst"The Depot : Arrival"
Original Digital Photograph and Vintage Ephemera Collage
©2012 Michael Sprouse | All Rights Reserved

During a recent visit to Philadelphia, I had the opportunity to catch an early Sunday morning train in order to celebrate the birthday of a close friend that resides in Merion Station.

While I was waiting for the train to arrive at
Philadelphia’s Suburban Station, I managed to visually document a rather unusually quiet and somewhat eerie empty train depot with my camera.

I kept returning to one image from the series in particular in which a long empty hallway culminates into a colorless void.

In addition to an obvious sense of the mysterious that is created by the 1930’s era ceiling light fixtures and the stolid ionic columns that rhythmically line the path, their purposeful placement reflects a symbolic meaning as the potential milestones encountered in life’s journey.

And finally - the “great white light” at the end of the path in the photograph creates an unmistakable kinship to what is commonly referred to as a “near death experience”.
All of these enticing elements coming together were just too much for the figurative and narrative art lover in my psyche to resist. All at once, I knew that the work would be complete with the addition of a figure to the scene.

And via the joy of Photoshop, thus entered the enigmatic young woman from a vintage WWI era photograph. The longing expression in her eyes in combination to the paper flower bouquet that she so gently held in her hands was the perfect addition.

She waits for someone to arrive, but for whom she waits and for how long has lasted and may continue to last is unknown - perhaps a moment – perhaps for eternity.

Her figure softly fades into the scene as once again, the focus of her vigil neglects to materialize and the essence of her quest is relinquished to the shadows once again until the arrival of the next train is announced.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Recent Work | “Lydia by the Lake”

"Lydia by the Lake"
Original Digital Photograph and Vintage Ephemera Collage
©2012 Michael Sprouse | All Rights Reserved
(See Story Below)


Part of the fantastic weekend that I spent in and just outside of Philadelphia catching up with incredibly special and well-loved friends, included a visit to the Brandywine Museum.

It was my first time visiting the museum and the experience was thoroughly enjoyable. Housed in a converted nineteenth century gristmill, the museum is certainly a must see for fans of the wildly talented and highly revered collection of artists that begin with N.C. Wyeth. Plus, the circular wings of the museum host an impressive collection of work by other notable North American illustrators, painters, sculptors and craftspeople.

But I’ll share more on the museum and the visual art treasures that it contains within in some other post in the not too distant future.

This post, in fact – while definitively arts related – isn’t so much focused on the museum as it is on my own recent work which came about because of it.

Well, perhaps not so much because of the museum itself, but more so because of its location on the lovely banks of the  historic Brandywine Creek.

While I was strolling about the old gristmill/museum, I found the allure of the banks of the Brandywine Creek on a crisp and pristine October afternoon simply too much to resist.

Soon after veering off the path and coming directly to the edge of the water itself, I came across a gorgeous scene at the base of an old railroad bridge that spanned the creek. Gathered en masse by the natural current at the base of the bridge support columns was a twisted and gnarled collection of felled tress and limbs.

As the late afternoon sun filtered an ocean of glowing rays through the intertwined branches of the many trees that bordered the opposite bank of the creek, it was impossible not to notice the rich waves of warm light shimmering off the autumn kissed leaves as they glowed in robust hues of amber, russet, and gold.

It was truly spectacular scene to behold and I felt compelled to take out my camera and document the beauty of it all. Even though the colors were spellbinding, I suddenly had an urge to capture the scene in black and white.  I was glad that I didn’t question my artistic instinct at that moment as I was very pleased with the results.

Though, after reviewing the image for a bit, I realized that there was something still not quite complete about the work.

And that’s when it hit me. It needed something in the foreground to not only ground the work, but to add a new dimension of the narrative and mystique.

I thumbed through my collection of vintage imagery and selected upon the haunting and lovely image of the young woman seen in the image above.

I’m quite pleased with the work. If you are as well, please feel free to inquire about hand embellished archival prints on gallery stretched canvas via email at