Wherever local artist Dale Warren goes, he keeps paints and a canvas within reach. Warren created a painting on each island he stopped at during his cruise at the beginning of March including Haiti and Aruba. By the end of his trip, Warren had five new travel paintings to add to his collection. Painting on scene is one of Warren’s favorite ways to paint.
"It’s just fun, and it really helps your skills because when you paint on location like that you’re almost overwhelmed by information so you have to learn to simplify it," Warren said. "It’s just really good practice."
In February, Warren unveiled a new painting of the former Young’s Hotel – Circa 1910. Warren used old postcards and the help of the president of the Portage Lakes Historical Society to recreate the painting. He also used his own pictures of the building that he took before it was torn down.
"I used all that information to put together this painting of what I thought it looked like around 1910, and anyone from around this area would recognize Young’s Hotel," Warren said. "I probably spent more time researching it than I did doing the painting."
Warren used vibrant oil paints to recreate Young’s Hotel, which was located at the corner of Manchester Road and Carnegie. A red canoe sits on Nesmith Lake in front of the hotel, and a yellow antique car and a horse and buggy sets the time period.
"A lot of people grew up going to dinner there," Warren said. "When I was a kid, we would go there on Sundays for dinner. It’s just always been a landmark of the area, and it was right on the Ohio canal."
The hotel and restaurant was demolished in 2010 because of the rate of deterioration to its structure. The building was originally a tavern in 1850 when John Young and his wife, Elizabeth Miller Young, built it. It was transformed into a hotel and restaurant in 1905, but burned down in 1907 and reopened in 1908. It was passed along the family line until it closed in 2004.
"I thought it would be nice for something around the Portage Lakes area to do something of historical significance," Warren said. "I do a lot of paintings around the Portage Lakes. It’s the area I live in, and also there’s a lot of good things to paint around here."
Warren has completed several paintings of the Portage Lakes area including Dusty’s Landing, South Shore Yacht Club and sailboats along Turkeyfoot Lake. He is not working on any local scenery currently, but has some ideas in the works for a landscape painting of the historic Tudor House in New Franklin.
Warren has a gallery and studio where his paintings are displayed. He also teaches classes out of his studio and sells prints as well as original paintings.
His first gallery was located on Portages Lakes Drive before he relocated to the old Lockwood School, room 204, at 3681 Manchester Road in Coventry Township. He originally rented the building as a space for him to paint. That grew, however, when people began requesting classes.
"It just wanted a place to paint and when I rented a place I said I might as well open a gallery too," Warren said. "Then people stated asking me if I taught classes so it just sort of evolved. It kept getting bigger."
As a child, Warren entertained himself by drawing cartoons and planes, but that childhood hobby grew into a lifelong passion for art. Now after his retirement, he focuses on his work and teaches other people the art of painting.
"A lot of people never painted before," Warren said. "You really don’t need the talent you just need the desire. If you have the desire I can teach you to paint."
For more information about classes or to contact Warren, visit his website paintingsbydale.com.