The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gifts and Original Paintings
The seasons at UNC in Chapel Hill are a reminder of why this has to be one of my favorite campuses to paint art. Hence the reason I have been so methodical in capturing it in art in a variety of ways. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the nation’s first state university to open its doors and the only public university to award degrees in the 18th century. Such a rich history transcends over time and is echoed in the creations that I have painted over the years.
Place on the Hill was my first celebration of this campus. I was sitting in the second story of the South Building when I caught this unique perspective of a student heading to his next class.
One fascinating bit of history is the fact that the university was chartered by the N.C. General Assembly Dec. 11, 1789, the same year George Washington first was inaugurated as president.
Every season is unique at UNC Chapel Hill, azaleas, redbuds and dogwoods come into their glory in April and warm southern breezes stir students to frolic on the lawns and windows open wide. The Old Well is the universities best known icon. A landmark that is one of the most recognizable ones in the country it lends itself to a variety of angles for an artist to capture. The cornerstone was laid for Old East, the nation’s first state university building, Oct. 12, 1793. Hinton James, the first student, arrived from Wilmington, N.C., Feb. 12, 1795.
When I was a young boy I counted down endless times the final seconds of time when I had the ball in hand, “chucks” laced up and shooting from outside to beat the buzzer. This nostalgia look is a throwback to a time when college athletics was much simpler. Today Carolina has amassed a reputation that is hard to beat. From 1961 to 1997 the men's basketball team was coached by Dean Smith, who is second for most wins in NCAA Division I Men's Basketball with 879 wins. Coach Smith led the Tar Heels to NCAA championships in 1982 and 1993. In only his second year at UNC, Roy Williams coached his team to a national championship in 2005 and was named Coach of the Year by the Associated Press in 2006.
One autumn I was aligning myself for a new art painting and print of UNC Chapel Hill campus when I could hear the bells chiming in the distance. Just over the horizon I could see the Bell Tower. My steps livened as I approach and could only imagine the generations that had been encouraged by its melodious serenading.
My latest art creation of Carolina encompasses the heart of its most noted icons. Old East, Old West, South Building, The Old Well and Playmakers Theatre. My inspiration came from an aerial photograph taken of the campus back in the late 1800’s. That photo showed the breath of the campus and it was amazing how much one could see. In creating this piece I actually hired a crane to come in to get a birds eye perspective only to be disappointed. The one item I forgot about when that photo was taken was the fact that the trees on campus were very young. Once in the air I quickly realized that they had grown to a magnitude that didn’t allow me to see much!
Never the less it was helpful to get a couple of stories up in the air to capture the beauty of the this early morning scene. This has to be one of the most popular scenes I have created of the campus to date!