Monday, July 14, 2008

Old McKendree Chapel

Located in Jackson mo

Old McKendree Chapel is said to be the first Methodist church located west of the Mississippi river. It is a historical site. So I thought about it a lot and decided to do a painting of it. When I decided to do the painting I hadn’t been there in awhile, having lived in St. Louis for the last 10 years or so. I had rarely visited it since moving away from the area so I decided to go down and have a look and take some photos. When I got there, I didn’t realize they had built this shelter thing over it, like a roof to protect it from the weather, which I think is a good idea. However, it makes for one strange photo as far as this thing on top of it. The painting I was envisioning when I was thinking about it was this cabin out in the country with a blue sky above it, you know. But it’s not going to be like that. I guess I could do that if I wanted, however, it wouldn’t be as it is now, which is the whole point.

I had a lot of trouble painting those front logs, the black and white ones. There are many subtle changes in the black that you probably can’t even see but were done because they were driving me so crazy with how it looked; I want it to look as it is. To get each of those white lines right took a lot of time too, they’re not random, that’s how it is. There are many dwellings, houses, buildings built in this style that are still around but there’s only one McKendree Chapel so I want it to be as accurate as possible.

Not to say its being painted for religious reasons, so to speak. More historical, it’s a very old dwelling. It was built in 1819, so it’s rather old. It was used as a place for worship (and still is on Easter mornings) but I’m sure it was used for many other things as well like picnics, weddings, community gatherings, etc throughout its history. There are a couple other buildings on the grounds too that were used for various things.

My wife and I went down to visit and there’s a cemetery across the street which actually had some long lost relatives of mine, great, great grandfather and such. Then we drove across the street and wandered onto the church grounds. There weren’t any official people out there, just some other tourists. It’s just kind of out in the middle of nowhere with very few markers of any kind.

While we were there I saw a snake on the side of the church and it was eating a bird. I took a photo of this but I tried not to bother the snake. I thought about it and wondered is the snake there protecting the church or is the church surrounded by the snake? Does the snake represents evil or was it just something that happens on a daily basis out in the country? If the snake was protecting the church then maybe you need evil to fight against evil. But it was a strange thing to have happen while visiting a church.
now listening to - Bob Dylan - "tree with roots" bootleg from 1967