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Auburn ‘cityscapes’ create snapshot

Bill Rice, Jr. borrowed an idea from his mom, Marsh Rice of Troy, and he took it and ran with it.

“My mom is an artist and she painted a ‘cityscape’ of Troy several years ago,” Rice said.

“I liked the idea so much and I thought it would work in other towns. I had the idea but I needed someone to do the artwork … and the right town.”

Rice is the managing editor of The Montgomery Independent and so the “right town” seemed to be Montgomery.

Rice and Opelika artist Iain Stewart combined on a painting of Montgomery landmarks and the success of that project spurred another.

Stewart is a graduate of Auburn High School and Auburn University so the next logical project for the duo was “The Loveliest Village on the Plains.”

“Iain and I are very proud of this painting and, as far as we know, no other artist has painted a panoramic ‘cityscape’ of Auburn landmarks,” Rice said. “You see artwork that depicts, say, one building in town or on campus, but nothing that tries to encapsulate the entire town. To me, it’s a portrait of a town that holds so many wonderful memories for so many people.”

Stewart said the challenge for such a project was in the overall composition, combining buildings and landmarks in such a way they would be pleasing to the eye while roughly accurate in regard to physical location.

“The main goal is to create a snapshot of the city and not a roadmap,” Stewart said.

The composition from start to finish took more than a year to complete but Stewart said he is “quite pleased” with the result.

And so is Rice and he’s quick to credit his mom with the idea that propelled the project.

“I’ve always believed there’s no such thing as an original idea,” Rice said. “The genesis of the Auburn painting can be traced back about 15 years ago when my mom and dad, Bill Rice, Sr., took a vacation to New England. While there, they visited a gift shop and Mom saw a beautiful panoramic painting of Concord, Massachusetts. She bought it because she loved the little town and the artwork. Not long after she bought it, though, she decided that she could do a similar painting of Troy.”

Rice appreciates his mom’s vision and that she didn’t mind one bit if he borrowed it.

“I’m so excited to be a part of this project,” said Rice, who is handing most of the marketing of the prints.

“These prints will be around for a long and enjoyed for many years.”

And, not surprisingly, next on the deck is a “cityscape” of Tuscaloosa where his dad played football for “The Bear.”

For information about the Auburn “cityscapes,” contact Rice at bill@montgomeryindependent.com or call 334-315-2583.