Harold LeRoy Olmsted (1886-1972), Erb Stables, 1933; watercolor on paper, 14 3/4 x 21 inches (Frame: 25 1/2 x 31 1/4 inches); Gift of the Artists wife and children, 1976
Moody colors in the sky are reminiscent of rainy days before the winter blows snow coldly across the paper’s edge. Glimpse the lush green grass and feel the chilling breeze rustling the branches’ last leaves of autumn. This romantic image of stables in 1933 belies how automobiles, trolleys, busses and trains were overtaking transportation needs. Only one horse stable still exists in the city of Buffalo.
On February 4, 1969, when asked why drawing and painting were important to him, Harold Leroy Olmsted answered, “…because it is my life.” Then, speaking enigmatically, he said: “As the twig is bent, the tree inclines. What bends the twig?” He was 82 years old. In addition to being a painter, Olmsted was an accomplished landscape architect and printmaker. He was the first to head the Patteran Society, preferring to be called “Skipper” rather than “President.”
Can you feel the chill of autumn blowing across the back of your neck? What colors are the leaves falling all around you? Imagine, looking out your window at home. How would you paint what you see? Does your landscape include stables, or a garage, or a bus stop?
Harold Leroy Olmsted was 12 when he took his first painting lesson. When he was 82 years old, he said drawing and painting were always important to him, because art “is my life.” What’s important to you?
— Danielle D. Delia, 2015