Carrie Furnace #6
15 x 22 in.
Sanders Waterford 140# Rough Watercolor Paper
Available through the artist
Carrie Furnace #6 is one of a series of paintings I’ve done of the blast furnaces which were part of Homestead Steel Works along the Monongahela River in Homestead, just up river from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Homestead Steel Works was purchased by Andrew Carnegie in 1898. It was one of the many steel plants in Pittsburgh and was in production until 1986. Although most of the blast furnaces have been torn down, there are still two of these giant structures left.
I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to draw and paint at Carrie Furnaces twice in recent years. I was awestruck by their gigantic scale and power. These magnificent rusting masses of steel are a testament to the history of Pittsburgh and the steel industry of America. This painting was my attempt to represent their unforgettable character. If you ever get a chance to spend time there, don’t pass it up.
I started painting as a watercolorist, primarily en plein air, in 2011, after nearly fifty years as an architect and architectural illustrator. At 5 or 6 years old I was drawing dogs and horses from Walter T. Foster’s books, later cars, planes, then buildings, which I’m still doing. Architecture was my first love, and has formed the foundation of my understanding of design, composition, freehand drawing, perspective, the built, the natural environment, and many other aspects of my professional growth.
I became interested in plein air painting in the late nineties when myself and 50–100 architectural illustrators would spend Saturdays at our annual conventions drawing or painting outside in some great places like Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Pittsburg, Yellowstone, and other venues, and although I only got to do it once or twice a year, it piqued my interest. And, in 1997 I thought it was time I started learning more about plein air painting with watercolor. Since then I’ve taken workshops along the coast of Maine with Carlton Plumber, in the Florida Keys with Jeanne Dobie, in Key West and Catalina Island with Charles Reid, in Victoria, Canada with Alvaro Castagnet, and at the Madeline Island School for Art on Lake Superior with Joseph Zbukvic and Herman Pekel.
I’m sure it was both the excellent artists and the locations that hooked me, but either would have convinced me that plein air painting was something I wanted to do! And so far, I have participated in over 70 plein air events all over the country, plus a couple of dozen more just-for-fun plein air paint-outs with many of my colleagues. I have had the good fortunate to paint with some of the best painters in the country, which has been a boatload of fun, an incredible learning experience, and a hell of a way to spend a day!
I am a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, Missouri Watercolor Society, Outdoor Painters Society, President Emeritus of The American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI), and Artist Faculty at the 2016 Plein Air Convention & Expo in Tucson, Arizona.
See more of my work at www.richardsneary.com.
Recent awards include En Plein Air Texas 2014, 2018, 2019, & 2020 Best Architectural Award 2014, Award of Distinction 2018, Award of Distinction Mini Pearl 2019, Texas Precious Water Award; Stems Plein Air 2011 & 2020 Best Of Show; Shadows-on-the-Teche 2018 & 2019, 2nd Place 2018, Honorable Mention 2019; Cape Ann Plein Air 2016, 2017, 2018, & 2019, Neptune Harvest Award 2018 & 2019, Honorable Mention 2018, Best Maritime 2019; Paint Grand Traverse 2019, Award of Recognition; Plein Air Easton 2012, 2013, 2017, 2019, Best Architecture 2012, Historic Preservation 2013, Best Use of Light & Honorable Mention 2017, & Honorable Mention 2019; Solomon Plein Air 2016 & 2017, Honorable Mention 2016, 3rd Place Sunset Quick Draw & Honorable Mention 2017; Paint The Pennisula 2016 & 2017, Best Architecture 2016, Best Waterscape & Peoples Choice 3rd Place 2017; Plein Air Easton 2012, 2013, 2017, Best Architecture 2012, Historic Preservation 2013, Best Use of Light & Honorable Mention 2017; Plein Air Magazine’s 6th Annual Plein Air Salon Winners, Honorable Mention; Plein Air Magazine’s 6th Annual Bi-Monthly Apr/May 2017, Dec 2016/Jan 2017, Oct/Nov 2016, & Aug/Sept 2016 Plein Air Salon Awards, 2nd Place, Best Artist over 60 (Apr/May), Best Sketchbook (Dec/Jan), Best Building, Best Nocturne (Oct/Nov), Best Watercolor (Aug/Sept); Plein Air Magazine’s 5th Annual Bi-Monthly Dec 2015/Jan 2016 Plein Air Salon Awards, Best Plein Air; 2017, 2016, 2014 Annual OPS Plein Air Southwest Salon, Honorable Mention 2017 & 2016, Dick Blick Art Materials Award for Excellence 2014; Wayne Plein Art Center Plein Air Festival 2017 & 2015, Canson Award 2017, Honorable Mention 2015; Lighthouse Art Center Plein Air Festival 2016, 1st Place Quick Draw; Plein Air Richmond 2014 & 2013, Honorable Mention 2014 & 1st Place in Fast & Fresh 2013; Easels in Frederick 2013, 1st Place in Quick Paint; Stems Plein Air Paint 2014, 2013, & 2011, 1st Place Watercolor 2014, 3rd Place Watercolor 2013, Best of Show, and 1st Place Watercolor 2011; Missouri Valley Impressionist Society Juried Exhibition Best of Show 2012, 2nd Place 2014, Best of Show 2018