Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rusted Roof (oil on canvas 2010)

(Private Collection)
I went out Monday with a couple of students to paint and I did this small painting (10 x 12), with a couple of changes back in the studio yesterday and this morning. This old barn is on the Wiley Road and I've painted and drawn it numerous times, but never from this angle. I'm working on a pretty good sunburn on my left arm and the back of my neck and if I had any sense, I would have chosen a view that would have put me in the shade, but I like this composition. It was amazing watching the sun move as I worked. When I started mixing my colors, the little room on the left was completely in shadow and when I started packing up three and a half hours later, the entire left side of the barn was in sunlight.

We met Dale Henderson, who owns this land (He has several newer, functional potato houses just behind where I was standing.) He told us that his grandfather Tom erected this structure in 1912 and that they're going to tear it down this year (before it falls in on its own). Too bad for me, as I quite enjoy it as a subject matter. I'll have to get a few more paintings done before the demolition takes place.

Orange Truck (oil on canvas 2010)

(Private Collection)
A couple of Littleton potato barns, north of the Station Road about a mile from my house. I started this on location last Monday evening and worked on it in the studio over the next several days, with daily trips back to the location throughout the week. At first I chose to leave the truck out, but the painting wasn't working. I went back the following night to have a look and try to figure out what was wrong and I realized the I needed to put the truck in. The sky was much greener at first and the painting wasn't working at all, the green in the sky disrupting everything the picture (like a dinner guest who's had way too much to drink...). Friday night I painted the sky with a blue that was more on the violet side and the whole thing just came together.

Arledge Barn on a Spring Day (oil on canvas 2010)

(Private Collection)
I painted this on location last Tuesday. It was a beautiful day, although a bit hot. This old barn and field are part of Fred and Inez Arledge's sheep farm, just a few miles from my house, and I've drawn and painted it many times over the past few years. The geometry of the hillside and the collection of old barns continues to hold my interest. Fred and Inez are extremely nice people. A few months ago they invited us up to see the new lambs that had been born and I got to see the inside of those barns. My kids really enjoyed feeding the lambs from a bottle and picking up the chickens. One of these days I'd like to see if Fred will let me paint the inside of the barn, but my allergy to hay might make that difficult. While I was painting last Tuesday, their two big, white sheep dogs started barking at me from the top of the hill and slowly made their way down as I set up my equipment, growling and barking the entire time. Eventually the settled in at the bottom of the hill, just to the right of where the painting ends. The barking and growling was a bit of a distraction as I started to work but once I got focused, I couldn't hear it anymore. An hour or so later I noticed that the dogs were no where to be seen.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hilltop Farm (oil on canvas 2010)

(Private Collection)
I painted this earlier today, over on the Framingham Road. Despite getting eaten alive by black flies and having a gust of wind blow my easel over, with the painting face down in the grass, knocking my table of paints and jars of solvent and oil all over the ground on the way, I was pretty happy with it.

Hole in the Sky (oil on canvas, 2010)

I finished this painting last week. It's based on some pastel drawings that I did about a week and a half ago, looking up at the front ridge here in Littleton from a field down below. I was out there this morning and everything is a vivid green, quite a difference from just ten days ago. I liked the composition, but I had a lot of trouble getting the undersides of the clouds right in the pastel because I just didn't have the right color on hand. All of my choices were either too blue or too gray. I tried blending blues and grays together, but the pastel became too dense and lost the airy quality that I wanted. I am always eager to start a painting based on a pastel drawing that I don't feel was successful, as it gives me another chance to solve the problem. When I make a pastel drawing that I'm happy with, doing a painting from it seems pointless.