Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Looking back down the road...

This is another painting from Sandy Flats--at the intersection with Harvestwood.  At the time we were in a drought, and the fields looked golden in the hot summer sun, but what caught my eye were the strips of bright green in the field past the road--a burst of life in a dry land.  The sky was very hazy with it's smokey blue tone, which offset the field so well.  I had parked the ol' red Toyota on the side of the road and set up my easel and worked the composition there, but ended up reworking the colors in the studio to my liking.  Often I will do that--not that the actual scene isn't interesting enough, just that it's fleeting, and I make enough references and notes to myself to recapture in the studio what struck me in the field, and it allows me to play a little more with color but also be true to the overall "feel" of the landscape.

Here again is my fascination with the idea of a path to be taken, a road to be traveled, a journey to be made-- often coming from shadow to light. About a month ago I went back to this part of the road, and it now looks completely different.  Where a bony fence once poked itself out of the earth is now overgrown with vines and bushes, with the fields greener and much heartier than they had been when I first painted them.  Oddly enough, I felt no desire to paint the scene as it is now.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Run of the Mill

A number of years ago Alison and I went around sketching and painting at various scenes--sometimes we were successful with a drawing or two, sometimes we just scouted out locations to try to visit at a later time.  One that we both fell in love with was this old mill on Sandy Flats Rd.  I've made several sketches of it, and a couple of paintings (one in the fog, and the one you see here).  Old buildings like this can be tricky to paint, because if the components are not working together to create an interesting image that invites the viewer to spend some time investigating, it becomes just another boring barn/mill painting.  The eye must keep moving through the painting, with resting points here and there.   This has all the elements of a good ol' summer day:  a dusty gravel road shaded by a nearby tree, hot and hazy air with the sun beating down, a cool lazy stream bubbling by, lush green grass to rest your tired feet in, and an old building rich with character and history.  Good memories.