Joppatowne artist Caroline Jasper enjoys painting the historic
and unique buildings of Harford County.
Artist Caroline Jasper has fallen under the spell cast by old buildings, historical and otherwise. It happened last fall, when a friend took her on a tour of the old Victorian mansion he plans to turn into a bed and breakfast in Havre de Grace.
A still-life painter, Jasper said she shifted focus to this "much larger outdoor subject matter." After painting the Harrison Hopkins House, she painted two other local bed and breakfasts, the Vandiver Inn and Spencer Silver Mansion.
Other historic buildings followed in quick succession - Rodgers Tavern, Liriodendron, Concord Point Lighthouse, Susquehanna-Tidewater Lockhouse, Harford County Courthouse, Tudor Hall and Little Falls Meetinghouse in Fallston.
"I've been painting nonstop since October," Jasper said. "So many houses, so little time." I painted every snow day and during the Tanksgiving and Christmas holidays and Easter week," she said. "I've been driven."
Jasper, art department chairperson at Chesapeake High School in Baltimore County, paints an average of four hours a day at her Rumsey Island home.
| The harsh winter helped out. Instead of painting from life, Jasper took photographs of her subjects.
"I have done some landscapes from life, but it drives me crazy because the ight is always changing," she explained. "Light is everything. The light has to be right. With a photo, I can trap the light."
"I listened to the weather forecasts on weekends." she continued. "If they called for clear weather, I was out of here before sunrise."
A glance at her paintings of the 1809 St. John's Episcopal Church and the 1865 Silberstein House show they were done from such sunrise photos.
The Spencer Silver Mansion was painted as she photographed it, decorated for Christmas with garlands and wreaths.
The artist attempted to explain her choice of subjects.
"Old buildings are sometimes taken for granted until they're gone," she said. "I remember the loss felt when I discovered that my childhood home - not an historic sit by any means - had been demolished for parking space. With the rapid development of this region, buildings such as the subjects of these architectural portraits become more precious."
According to Jasper, her passion for painting "architectural icons" is not yet sated.
"Maryland is so rich in history," she said. "There are lots of places in Harford County I haven't been able to get to. Annapolis and Ellicott City keep coming up in my mind."
"Courthouse" a snow season painting by Caroline Jasper
an exhibit of 18 of Jasper's paintings, will be on display at
The Picture Show Art Gallery,
301 St. John St.
in Havre de Grace. Hours:
Thursday to Saturday
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.