Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pillars of the Apalachicola community

Artist Susan L. Richardson standing next to her painting 'Pillars' 
depicting Apalachicola residents Bill Sphorer and Willoughby 
Marshall: Photo by Gail D. Johnson

Apalachicola artist Susan L. Richardson has created what could arguably become a masterpiece. The painting features a rendition of two of Apalachicola’s most prominent citizens, Bill Spohrer and Willoughby Marshall, who both through the years have championed the historic renovation and preservation of parks, homes and businesses throughout the historic city of Apalachicola.

According to Richardson the painting was inspired by a photograph taken by Denise Butler of Spohrer and Marshall and shown last May during a Historical Society meeting.  After the meeting Butler sent the photo to Richardson and suggested that she do something with it and she did.

“The painting is called ‘Pillars’, because they’re pillars of the community… I think it’s sort of a befitting tribute to two people who in their own way contributed to the city and they both care deeply about the city”, said Richardson.

Spohrer a former airline executive along with his wife Lynn arrived in Apalachicola in 1978 and immediately took in interest in the historic preservation of the city's rundown buildings.  The couple pioneered the renovation and preservation of architecturally significant historic homes and commercial buildings, which included the Coombs House Inn, the Sponge Exchange, the Montgomery Building and the Cotton Warehouse.

Marshall an author, historian, historic preservationist and Architect is known as a staunch advocate of maintaining the city’s historic plan patterned after Philadelphia. He is most noted for his 1991 and 2011 work designing, restoring and rehabilitating Lafayette Park and for the 2007 adaptive reuse of the Fry-Conter house.

The painting was a work in progress taking almost six weeks to complete!  “It’s a process… you start it, you look at things, you change things, you think about it and then it starts talking to you… if a painting doesn’t start talking to me… I don’t finish it”, explained Richardson.

It’s an impressive 30”x30” wood framed oil painting that speaks volumes with a price tag of $3,600 and will be on exhibition mid-January 2015 at the Tallahassee Regional Airport inside its ‘Artport Gallery for Art in Public Places’.

The painting depicts the two distinguish gentlemen sitting while engaged in a deep conversation with Marshall cupping his ear attentively listening to Spohrer with his walking cane out front.