The Mount Vernon Club at 8 W. Mount Vernon Place has stood in that location since 1933 and since then it has filled with many people, with many events, and many stories. If you were to visit and ask one of the staff that work there, they would tell you of the variety of ghosts that inhabit the halls. One story was only rumor until very recently, but it was no story of a ghost. This haunt was flesh and blood - even if her flesh was covered in scales. Some had heard of the disappearance of guests on occasion, but it was always written off as a lovers spat and never pressed. Strangely though, it had been discovered that on some of these days, where a guest had disappeared, the staff had made a stone sculpture donation to Second Change (an architectural salvage yard and store).
On a recent evening, Constance and Herbert were guests at an event at the club. It was a Christmas event and cheer was in the air and drinks were flowing freely. Herbert had heard of the stories and the rumors, and decided to discover if there were any truth to the tales of a monster within the walls and guests being turned to stone. He asked some of the staff and they told him about some of the ghosts that have been seen and heard within the halls, but laughed at the idea of an actual monster in residence.
“A gorgon could exist as easily as dragon could” Constance told Herbert as she pulled him away from the staff member he was pressing for details. “I’m sorry. Please excuse him.” She smiled. “Too many cocktails.”
Herbert gave her a look, that he had given her many times before. He knew she didn’t believe his stories, but then again she had not seen the things he had seen in Baltimore. Shadows of beasts that vanished suddenly when spotted, visions from the corner of his eye, and he swears he had seen a sweet old woman with tentacles and green skin pocketing a dried and flattened rat into her purse. When he took a double take she was just an old woman and looked as harmless as a fly.
“You could at least humor me, even if you don’t believe me.”
“Oh dear.” Constance grimaced. “You must be kidding. Humor you.” She rolled her eyes so much they seemed to take her head with it. She accidentally punctuated the motion with a hiccup that was an immediate embarrassment for her. Constance put her hand to her mouth and looked to she who may have heard. No one had.
“Looks like you are the one that has had too many cocktails.” Herbert mumbled smugly.
Herbert excused himself for the mens room and left Constance to mingle. He noticed a door underneath the stairwell that was cracked. It led to rooms and halls within the club, but he found nothing out of the ordinary. He returned to the hall beneath that stairwell and as he entered the mens room (which was a door hidden in the opposite wall) he though heard a low rattle and slithering sound. Like a rolled up rug being pulled across the floor. He paused and after no other sound came, except the talking and laughing from the gathering where their party was, he pulled the bathroom closed behind him.
Conversation was dull and after fifteen minutes had passed, and Constance had finished her martini, she went to see where Herbert was. Even though his imagination was absurd, she did love Herberts outrageous stories far more than talk about the weather or the mayor. She reached the staircase and could not believe her eyes. A monstrous human-serpent hybrid was making her way up the staircase from the men’s room. By the time she cleaned her glasses and rubbed her eyes the stairs were empty. Constance discovered an uncanny life-sized sculpture of her husband in the open bathroom, but her husband was nowhere to be found. This was the last she saw of him. The staff had said they saw him getting into a cab, but that just didn’t sound like something her Herbert would do. A week later, Constance saw the sculpture for sale and bought it and placed it in her sunroom.
Ever since the evening at The Mount Vernon Club, Constance started seeing Baltimore they way her husband had. There were monsters in this city. She saw them everywhere, if even for a brief moment.
Adam Burke was born on Valentines day in 1975, in the state of Oregon, where he cultivated his love of art and nature from an early age. Adam took art classes and went to art school a few times, but ended up developing his skills and technique on his own, with virtually no training in the medium of painting. This medium (where he says he wishes he had more formal training) has taken him far with his self discoveries. Burke works with oils as well as acrylics and has created fantastic and bold works with both. When using acrylic, he manipulates the medium to appear light and fluid like a watercolor and when using oils, his strokes are bold and textural. Not until his mid 30’s did Adam really begin his full-time career as an artist and after three to four years of intense struggling did things begin to fall into place and he began to make a name for himself. Burke began that struggle working primarily in illustration work (inspired by mid-20th century illustrations) with poster and album art for musicians and then began to push his boundaries and create more fine art in addition to that illustration work. Burke told me “I think there's infinite room to explore painting if you remove narrative as your primary goal.” Burke’s paintings focus primarily on nature an a mysterious narrative - “I want the viewer to come away scratching their head, wondering what I was trying to do, but still being drawn in by a high level of draftsmanship. Mostly I want to instill a sense of wonder.”. Fantastic creatures occupy incredible and awe inspiring landscapes, yet the viewer is still able to connect with his work if only on a primal level. Adam Burke still lives in the Pacific Northwest, where he is a native-plant enthusiast (especially the huckleberry varieties) and enjoys gardening. The painting I am highlighting is entitled Consequatur, and I feel it perfectly represents his incredible talent. Discover more of his work via the links below.
As of October 2016, I intend to use this blog as an accompaniment to my Facebook page and Instagram page. On this blog I will post information and updates about my work as well as once a month I will highlight an artist whose work I like. Additionally, as of March 2017, I began posting a monthly Story Entry with an accompanying illustration of mine.