Taking inspiration from Cassandre and Baumann
Inspired by the recent photo I took of the Pauline Chapel, I created a graphic illustration of this historic building. The strong play of light and shadow on the geometric stucco walls reminded me of the vintage 1930s travel posters of the great early 20th century graphic designer A.M. Cassandre (Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron). His poster style drew on the avant-garde influences of Cubism and Futurism and integrated strong use of typography.
Cassandre employed airbrush and friskets (masks) to create his works of poster art. My illustration was developed using vector-based software tools in Adobe Illustrator CS4. I exaggerated the proportions of the Pauline Chapel, emphasizing the height and perspective of the chapel’s prominent tower.
The composition was naturally framed by the Blue Spruce and Ponderosa Pine to the left and right of the chapel. I found that rendering vegetation proved to be challenging, so I chose a simplified approach. The German-born American print maker and painter Gustave Baumann created colorful, stylized woodcuts of southwestern landscapes. His stylistic approach served as inspiration for the two evergreen trees in my composition.
History of Pauline Chapel
Pauline Chapel is adjacent to St. Paul Church near the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. The Chapel is a notable example of ornate Spanish Colonial Revival and its antecedent style, Mission Revival Style, which both draw inspiration from the early Spanish missions of California. The Chapel was built in 1918 by the prominent Colorado Springs architectural firm of MacLaren and Hetherington under the close supervision of local Colorado Springs philanthropist Julie Penrose. The chapel is named after the Penrose’s daughter, Pauline Penrose. The Pauline Chapel was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 26, 2001.
Recently I had the privilege of hearing the spoken talents of three great women: my wife (okay, I’m slightly biased here), my sister-in-law poet, and a 93-year-old Chicago artist, activist, and writer. What united these three ladies? A love for educating and a passion for overcoming the inequities of our society. My wife organized an event to celebrate black history month, held at the University of the Rockies, Colorado Springs on Saturday, February 27. She put together a diverse and talented group of performance artists, poets, storytellers, and educators. The event’s honored guest speaker was Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs, internationally prominent artist, educator, writer, and renowned as the founder—along with her late husband Charles Burroughs—of the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, Illinois.
During the event, I was reminded how vital it is to recognize the talent and gifts that we all possess. I’ve come to realize the greatest challenge in one’s life is oneself. While self-deprecation can be an expression of modesty, chronic self-doubt is a toxic affliction. Failure to be confident in our abilities—or worse, failure to recognize our God-given talents—squanders our legacy. Yes, legacy. Dr. Burroughs spoke passionately about lasting human legacy in her poem entitled, “What will your legacy be?” The poem speaks of the great accomplishments of civil rights pioneers. By overcoming tremendous social adversity, these leaders left a lasting bridge of hope and a brighter future for generations to come.
What bridges will you build for future generations to cross over? Burroughs’ lesson is profound yet simple: Pursue your passion, do great works, and help others along the way. By applying these principles throughout our life, we can leave a rich and enduring legacy for future generations.
Listen to Dr. Burroughs’ reading her poem, “What will your legacy be?” during last month’s black history celebration.