10 April 2010
Posted by Paul Anater at 6:12 AM
On 4 March, I wrote a post I titled Help Me Grant Wood and in it I detailed a presentation I was working on that had to do with an imaginary renovation of the house that sits in the background of Grant Wood's American Gothic.
What started out as an interesting idea has become my life's work over the last five weeks. I have never used SketchUp at this level before and I've never researched something so exhaustively in my life.
Right after I learned that it was a real house in Eldon, Iowa (that's currently rented to a caretaker by the way), I started digging around for anything I could find out about it. I found an entire library of photographs. That was relatively easy.
I hit on the mother lode when I found the Wapello County Assessor's website. On it, I found the property records for the house. I was hoping to find the plat for the property, but I found something equally useful in its place. Ta-da!
It's the measured footprint of the American Gothic House.
I saved it as a .jpg and imported into a SketchUp file and then I scaled it up to the proper size. So now that I knew how big the interior walls were, I could figure out the heights of everything from looking over the library of photographs I'd accumulated.
Here's the final exterior view I drew.
When I was digging around for photos, I came across this one.
It's the only image I could find of the back of the house. Who knew that there was another Gothic window and a back porch on the American Gothic house?
Speaking of that window, it took me the better part of a Saturday to get the radii right on that Gothic arch.
So there are the exterior shots. Ultimately, that model's going to end up Google Earth and that's pretty cool. I never thought I'd have a model on Google Earth some day. It's an interesting thing to ponder.
I finished the interior yesterday and I think I did the house proud. I'm not showing the interiors here just yet, though I will eventually. If you really want to see them though, you'll have to come to Chicago next Thursday.