Beehive Oven

The Workhouse was created as a progressive prison about 100 years ago. Its purpose was to be self-sustaining; among other things making bricks from the rich local clay which became a commodity, an enduring measure of the prisoners' work. These bricks can still be seen all around Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Ironically, this institution, which unsuccessfully began as the experimental "Prison Without Walls," made walls as its livelihood.

There were nine brick ovens on the property and this one remains in what is now Occoquan Regional Park. Here are some interesting pictures of the oven, to include what it looks like inside and outside, plus there's a diagram about how the huge kiln worked.

This pastel began with a watercolor underpainting on site. When there, the day repeatedly turned dark and light. If there was light, it was dappled on a mottled surface. What a great challenge this became!

Filling in some much needed pastel, the painting flourished with color and definition.

Beehive Oven
soft pastel on mounted Wallis


ariel freeman said...

Love the color and seeing the watercolor underpainting.

Bonnie said...

Thanks, Ariel. At one point, I joked that it looked like my whole pastel box was on there, but it came out well.

I have been enjoying the realization that everything I paint doesn't have to be green!