logo.gif (3909 bytes)Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio


The River, 20" x 16", oil on canvas, 1996

    Painted from the banks of the Ohio just South of the Suspension Bridges' Kentucky pier. Tom worked during the day and night from the shore, fleshing in the beginnings of the canvas. Later in the studio, he realized the work. The undertaking is exceptional for its high quality of detail done in traditional style.  

    There is quite a bit of "Tall Stack" activity in the painting. In mid stream the Delta Queen is well underway, going up river. The stadium is wholly lit with a baseball game in progress. All along the Kentucky side of the river from just below the bridge pier to the Licking River are stern-wheelers tied up to shore. In the foreground is the "Donald B", an authentic stern-wheeler towboat. Closer to the viewer just off the shore is a river man in a johnboat. On shore is the artist at a campfire.  

        Tom spent several nights on the river at night sketching in the scene. Later he reaffirmed his composition decision and worked over top of the preliminary oil sketch. This was a work where the beginning oil sketch was in many ways superior to the final detailed work. However, Tom decided to paint over the initial oil sketch because he had cow towed to artisans without money and now he was producing a simple work for a deliberate client.  

        A long time client Ms. Linda Brown commissioned this work. Her husband actually commissioned it for her Valentines Day gift. Ms. Brown already had one painting of the suspension bridge, during the day, done by Tom Lohre and Ms. Brown wanted a night scene with the lights on the bridge! Well Tom, took the opportunity of Cincinnati's 1995 "Tall Stacks" Celebration to complete her wish. The first bridge painting took place on the banks of the Ohio during the day. Tom painted with the homeless people living right under the pier of the bridge. This painting had to be done in the studio. Tom did not have a painting of the Cinergy stadium and decided to include it into the already crowded composition.  

        Back in the studio, Tom finely rendered the many aspects of the scene. He starts with the background and works forward. As in all of Tom's work, he paints as if he is building each object with paint. The stadium supports have all the strength to hold up the stands and the lights illuminate the interior area. The bridge piers are strongly laid up to hold the cables. The iron girders are carefully fitted together to hold the roadway. The stern-wheeler in the foreground is assembled in the same way it was in the shipyard. All the constituents are formed as though the maker himself was involved.  

        Tom grew up in Northern Kentucky. His first job was working on the "Mike Fink," a floating restaurant moored just down river from the Licking River. His job was to wash the decks and maintain the outside of the marina. Spending time on the river as a young man had a indelible impression on Tom. Legendary river man, Capt. Beatty owned the restaurants Mike Fink and Captain Hook plus a large menagerie of various cranes and workboats for river salvage jobs. The stern-wheelers in the foreground of the painting represent the towboats on the river that Tom worked on. He fondly remembers his boss, a large black man named Henry, whose parents were slaves. Henry worked most of his life for Capt. Beatty. Another one of Tom's bosses was Duey of Newport. His sister owned the riverboat restaurant right up the river from the "Fink." He would scoot about in a oak yawl taking care of the various jobs and lines needing attention. While Beatty's Navy, the collection of salvage equipment, was laid up, he would take care of maintaining them. Tom would sometimes travel with him in the yawl like the one in the foreground of the painting.  


Related Links

River & Ocean Paintings

South Street Seaport

Henry Williams

Mike Fink's