So I know its been a while since I posted anything, but I think I may be running out of stained glass to shoot in this Bay Area...
But I did finally have some time to make it into the Washington Mutual Bank building on Lombard/Van Ness street to have a glimpse of the large mural inside. I asked the manager if i could take some photos, and somehow I managed to impress upon her that I wasnt trying to 'case' the joint. haha.
Due to the weather, on overcast day, I thought it would be a great time to shoot it. However, the work has several major design flaws which make a proper viewing difficult. The first is that behind the mural, large dark trees have grown up, and these cast a shadow on the glass. So there are parts that are illuminated, and some that are in shadow. Second is the fact that that there appears to be an outer overhang to the roof, and this casts a dark shadow on the top four feet of the composition. Thirdly, while dark on the inside of the building, there are two enormous chandelier type light fixtures, and many smaller drop cannister type lights. these are hard to see byond, and interfere with any strightforward look. So looking must be done at angles and upward, which is why the photos tend to be a bit sharp in their angles, as you can see.
But I think its a good solid work of glass, perhaps not so innovative, but colorful and the modeling of the figures is interesting and fluid. The whole composition reads like a children's book, with mothers holding babies, and children dancing and playing with animals and musical instruments.
The work was done by the artist/painter/muralist Susan Hertel, who was originally trained as a mural painter, and later designed stained glass. A graduate of Scripps College in 1952, Susan Hertel raised her large family on ranches in both Glendora, California, and Cerrillos, New Mexico. Her subject matter in her paintings depicts the pleasure she took in life on the ranches with the many animals and human activities. A retrospective of her work was held at Scripps College in the Fall, 1998.
Here is some more background info on her. she was a painter, who seems to have made a living with murals, mainly for buildings owned by Home Savings Bank, of which the WaMu bank building is originally one. Another important commission was in Hollywood, CA. She died in 1993, but was a successful mother and painter, and seems to have drawn her subject matter from her own life on a ranch with animals.