Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tractor Path (oil on canvas, 2008)

(Private Collection)
I have been out running and on sketching hikes on this particular tractor path on numerous occasions over the past year and the geometry of the path, as it snakes through the fields, down the hill and back up again, has always been interesting to me. The mound of earth in the distance to the left of the path always reminds me of Thomas Hardy's "Return of the Native" (and if you know the story, you'll know where the name of my studio comes from...). That's the Littleton Baptist church on Route 1 in the distance.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lonely Barn (oil on canvas, 2008)

Two Barrels (pastel, 2008)

This is a field off of the Carmichael Road, about 2 miles from my house. I have taken my 4-year-old son for walks past here dozens of times and have often wanted to make a picture from it. The view always reminds me of Andrew Wyeth, probably because of the high horizon and the old empty barrels. I did this drawing about three weeks ago on a beautiful October day.

Rainy September (oil on canvas, 2008)

(Private Collection)
I saw this view on Ingraham Road, about a mile and a half from my house, one day while out running just after it had stopped raining. I walked up there the next day with my backpack full of drawing materials, my portable easel and my drawing board to make some compositional studies. As I was walking up Route 1 on the way there, I happened to notice one of the Border Patrol vehicles drive past me. About a half an hour later, I had my easel set up on the side of the road and was well into my drawing when I sensed a car approaching from my right and slowing down to a stop. I looked up and it was the same Border Patrol truck that I had seen earlier. The driver rolled down his window and asked me the strangest question: "Are you looking for something?" Had I been quick-witted, I might have replied "Yes, inspiration." but instead I just asked him what he meant. He said, "I saw you walking up the road earlier and I thought you might be looking for something." I am not sure how he came to that conclusion, but I explained that I was an artist and what I was doing and he wished me well and drove away. Very odd...

Tractor Path studies (pastel, 2008)

These are a couple of pastel studies that I did of a subject that I am currently making a painting of. It is a view from a tractor path through some corn and potato fields, facing west towards US Route 1. The first one (bottom) was done on an overcast day in early October. I liked the composition but wasn't happy with the colors. I went back a week later on a nicer day and moved my easel over to the left. I liked the colors better in the second one (top) and the view of the Littleton church at the top, but I was not happy with the tractor path in the foreground. I went back again last Sunday afternoon but there were gunshots all around (it's hunting season up here and not everyone adheres to the "No Hunting on Sundays" rule.) so I turned around and hiked back to my car without getting any work done. I have incorporated the elements that I like from both of these into a painting which I have been working on for the past week.

Littleton, Maine (oil on canvas, 2008)

This was a painting that I had done in early September (see below) and thought it was finished. However, after hanging it in my gallery and having to see it every day, I became dissatisfied with the "blueness" of the sky so I put it back on the easel and repainted the sky. To compensate for the changes, I ended up repainting most of the canvas.

Barn Over a Rise (pastel, 2008)

I have wanted to make a picture of this subject for a long time. I did another drawing, which was a horizontal composition, and I was not happy with at all. I did some compositional studies in my studio and discovered that it worked better as a vertical so I went back to the location and did this, which I am happier with. I wanted to do a painting of this subject, but where I was happy with the pastel, I was afraid that I would end up just trying to copy it. I eventually did the painting (see above) but changed the colors and eliminated one of the fence posts from the composition.