Talking to Jason Webb

Question: Tell me about “Flagman Ahead”

“Flagman Ahead” is part of a series of paintings of derelict buildings in the Austin area. It is a scene inside the Norwood House. The house was built in 1922 by wealthy real estate developer, Ollie Norwood, who went on to build the Norwood Tower in 1929, a gothic revival office tower located behind what is now Arthouse in downtown Austin. The Norwood House has been unoccupied since its acquisition by the City of Austin in 1985- that is as long as I’ve been alive. Efforts to restore the house have been slow and fraught with setbacks.

“Flagman Ahead” was painted using a technique I describe as acrylic posing as watercolor; meaning no white pigment was used, just thin washes which rely on the white of the paper for brightness. This process requires careful planning because it can only move in one direction, forward from lighter to darker. There is no going backwards. Alterations always add darkness, and no mark can ever be reversed.

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