May 11, 2018

Model Railroads and Art: Paintings as Inspiration

Tuschman's Photo
Edward Hopper's Original
I recently came across the work of photographer Richard Tuschman. He did a series of photos that were inspired by American Artist Edward Hopper. Here you can compare Tuschman's photo  to  Hopper's original "Hotel by a Railroad."

I like Hopper's work. It has is what I call near photo realism, but usually spare and stark. He really focused on painting sunlight and shadow. Tuschman's photos capture Hopper's style especially the use of light. I find it interesting that Tuschman uses doll house miniatures in creating some of his work. I recommend you take a look at his website (the link is here and above). His work with dollhouses is also intriguing. See his website for more.


Armstrong's model above and Hopper's painting below.
Photo from the late Carl  Ardent's web site


Hopper has inspired many model railroaders to recreate his scenes. It's understandable since Hopper painted many images that had a railroad theme or included a railroad as part of the composition. Perhaps the most famous modeler inspired by Hopper was the late John Armstrong, who built a O scale model of the cafe depicted in Hoppers "Nighthawks" painting.

To get the best comparison between Armstrong's model and painting, one needed to make sure the lights in the cafe model were on while the  room lights were off. A casual visitor to the layout could not get the right lighting in a snapshot.






Another great example of painting inspiring a model railroad is John Ott's "9:45 Accommodation." In this case, Ott's specific objective was to replicate a  E.L. Henry's 1867 painting.  Check out his website to see how well he did. You'll be amazed.





In my Aquia line layout, I've been using prototype photos as inspiration. Once I get the layout more complete, perhaps I will go back and try to replicate some scenes from famous paintings. Winslow Homer has several potential scenes that could be inspiration.








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