The lines between work, creativity and family are definitely blurred for Little Rock artist and architect Jeff Horton. He and his wife, Jennifer Herron, collaborate daily in their thriving architectural practice, Herron Horton Architects, while his professional projects serve to inform and influence his oil paintings. And it all takes place in the recently completed home/office/studio the pair shares with their children.
It was during his own childhood that Jeff became interested in art. “I spent many childhood days drawing and watercolor painting from Walter Foster’s How To books,” he says. “It became apparent early on that I enjoyed art, and I’ve been pursuing it ever since. In fact, it was Jeff’s interest in art that lead him to a career in architecture. During a high-school career day, he shadowed an architect in North Kansas City, who introduced him to both the office and the job site. “By the end of the day, I realized that architecture involved drawing and design, and that I would be able to use my artistic skills,” he says.
While studying architecture at the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Urban Design, Jeff was able to pursue both his passions by taking a variety of painting and drawing classes as well. It was there that he discovered abstract expressionism. “This way of painting opened a new door me, and ever since, I have been pursuing abstract art,” he says. “This shift from a realism perspective to abstraction has been a real struggle. Abstraction may look simple, but it’s very complex to express what you cannot see.”
Jeff often begins a painting with an image or a photograph, pulling out individual lines and planes to create the painting’s unique perspective. His work always seems to draw the viewer in through its forced perspective and rich coloration. “As the painting progresses, it begins to form its own space within the two dimensional surface,” he says. It’s the process that holds the most drama for Jeff, rather than the final product, because he particularly enjoys watching the colors take on their own personality and direction.
The relationship between art and architecture is a much-explored one for this multi-talented individual. “In one of my fifth year architectural projects, I took photos of a steel billboard structure as research, and I decided to use the same images as inspiration for a painting that I was working on in my fine arts studio,” Jeff says. “The lines and openness of the structure drew me to paint an oversized abstraction, and to this day I try to blur the two-dimensional boundary to create a three-dimensional depth in my paintings. It’s this feeling of creating space on the canvas that makes a direct connection back to my architecture.” This freedom to experiment with space, color and line inevitably feeds back into Jeff’s buildings in a way that keeps his eye fresh and his creativity flowing.
The history of the Moore-Hornor house closely mirrors that of Helena, where it was built in 1859. Robert Caswell Moore, one of the few men who returned to Helena after the Civil War, purchased the home, which overlooks Graveyard Hill, the site of the Battle of Helena on July 4, 1863. Moore’s daughter married John Sidney Hornor, who founded West Helena and built a streetcar line between the two cities, and the couple raised their family in the home. A beautiful example of asymmetrical Greek Revival and Italianate architecture, the Moore-Hornor house was damaged by fire in 1994. Now owned by the Delta Cultural Center and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it serves as a field lab for the Arkansas Institute for Historic Building Preservation Trades, which was created by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and Phillips Community College to meet the state’s need for artisans who are comprehensively trained in traditional preservation trades to maintain, rehabilitate and restore historic buildings.
Verna Cook Garvan dreamed of transforming her 210-acre property on Lake Hamilton into a world-class botanical garden, so in 1985 she donated her Hot Springs land under a trust agreement to the University of Arkansas School of Architecture. Upon her death in 1993, the department of landscape architecture began painstakingly documenting every plant species on the property and work began on the public garden’s infrastructure, with the garden opening in 2002 and the Anthony Chapel following in 2006.
Verna Cook Garvan dreamed of transforming her 210-acre property on Lake Hamilton into a world-class botanical garden, so in 1985 she donated her Hot Springs land under a trust agreement to the University of Arkansas School of Architecture. Upon her death in 1993, the department of landscape architecture began painstakingly documenting every plant species on the property and work began on the public garden’s infrastructure, with the garden opening in 2002 and the Anthony Chapel following in 2006. The Anthony Chapel was designed by Jennings + McKee Architects of Fayetteville in the style of E. Fay Jones’ Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs. Massive pine columns support its 57-foot ceiling, while the soaring windows take in the view of gardens, which are resplendent in seasonal flora, from colorful foliage in the fall to daffodils and tulips in the spring.
We may not get too many inches of snow each season, but a wintry Arkansas landscape is certainly a sight to behold. This stunning photograph was taken in the Ozark National Forest, which covers 1.2 million acres in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas. Established in 1908 by president Theodore Roosevelt, it encompasses the tallest mountain in the state, Mount Magazine, as well as other natural wonders like Blanchard Springs Caverns and more than 500 special of trees and woody plants.
The oldest surviving state capitol west of the Mississippi, Arkansas’ Old State House is most recognizable as the setting of President Bill Clinton’s two election-night celebrations, and today it houses a multimedia museum of Arkansas history. A National Historic Landmark, the Greek Revival structure was commissioned by Territorial Governor John Pope and designed by architect Gideon Shryock. Although it wasn’t completed until 1842, the first general assembly was held there in 1836, and it remained the state capitol until 1911, enduring occupation by Union Troops, a famous knife fight and nearly constant repairs before the decision to build the new capitol was made.
The architectural center of Hot Springs’ historic downtown, the Arlington Hotel has hosted politicians, entertainers, gangsters and grand balls since its inception in 1875. Now in its third structure, built in 1924, it features the original in-house bathhouse, distinctive twin towers and spacious verandas running the length of the building. Just outside the front doors lies all the natural beauty of Hot Springs National Park, which was made a federal reservation in 1832 by President Andrew Jackson to preserve the amazing natural springs, making it in essence the first national park, pre-dating Yellowstone by 40 years.
As the town of Russellville grew up along the Missouri-Pacific railroad, the depot was one of its most important structures and the center of community activity. Today, since the depot has been restored by Main Street Russellville, it holds that honor again, as the site for the farmers’ market, festivals, meetings and more, as well as home to the Main Street Russellville offices.
In honor of Independence Day, we’ve devoting our last page to the American flag. One of our country’s most recognizable and powerful symbols, the flag includes 13 red and white stripes, representing the original colonies, and 50 stars, representing each of the states. Although the design was adopted on June 14, 1777, beginning in 1818, new stars were added to the flag to represent each new state on the fourth of July each year, and the 50-star version, adopted on July 4, 1960, has been the longest in continuous use as of 2007, when it surpassed the 48-star flag.