A Minute in the City 4-10-24: The Calendar Picture That Almost Wasn’t

We lived in Kirkwood for five years. That’s not where our house was, but that was where we spent most of our waking hours. We went to church there, to guitar lessons, to obedience school. (Yes, for the dog, but quite frankly, we all needed it.) We went to Kirkwood Library and Kirkwood Farmers’ Market and Kirkwood Park. We shopped for gifts in Kirkwood, went to the movies there, boarded the train there for points West.

The Kirkwood Depot embodies for me what Kirkwood is all about. It is friendly and welcoming, sharing the street with charming shops, restaurants, and a little ice cream stand just a stone’s throw away. In the evening, people take their kids out for ice cream and stick around to watch the trains come in.

I was more than a little excited to capture the magic of the Kirkwood Depot in my 2019 calendar. But this illustration came to a screeching halt when I realized how very horizontal it was. It was not going to fit my calendar format at all!

So I added a new layer in Adobe Illustrator and drew the crossing gate on the right side of my canvas. But this did little to alleviate the problem, as I still had a hole in the lower left quadrant of the picture. The addition of a mother and her son only exacerbated the problem, leaving a huge empty space in the center.

I was about ready to ditch the whole thing when the idea of a beagle came to mind. The white of his coat would provide adequate contrast with the grass. His spots would add interest. And, because he was beagle-sized, he wasn’t going to obscure that pretty little depot behind him.

That dog proved to be a lifesaver. To this day, he is as popular at shows as Kirkwood’s most recognized landmark. Thanks to the magic of digital illustration, the two now share top billing.

 

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Want to read more about my illustrations? Watch for an exciting new development coming next month to A YEAR IN THE CITY!

In the meantime, if you’re interested in buying this art for your home or office, Kirkwood Depot is available as an 11 x 14 litho print or a 16 x 20 archival print at ayearinthecity.com/newproducts. Archivals are twice the size of lithos and last three times as long – 99 years, to be exact! They are signed and numbered and sold in a low series of just 100 copies.