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2012 Oregon Fields Project

June 26, 2012

Plein Air – Vogel’s View; Oil on Canvas Panel 12″ x 24″

Plein Air – Coffman’s Cattle; Oil on Canvas Panel 11″ x 14″

 

Plein Air – Lewis Shack; Oil on Canvas Panel 11″ x 14″

Plein Air – Lewis Barn; Oil on Canvas Panel 8″ x 10″

Plein Air – Center School; Oil on Canvas Panel 11″ x 14″

Not in the best mood today. It has been a busy three plus weeks between the Edge of the Rock and Theodore Robinson Plein Air Competitions and the 2012 Fields Project last week. Perhaps I was spoiled by the support from the folks in Wisconsin, but I anticipated better results from my efforts in Ogle county. I completed six works during the 2012 Fields Project.

Monday was hot and breezy. Vogel’s View. I witnessed this scene on my way onto the property. No need to go all the way up to the farm. I set up along the entrance drive and started. At the start, the barn was void of light. I liked the design and figured that either something would happen naturally or I would have to improvise to make the barn more prominent. About half way through, the intuition paid off as sunlight hit the front of the barn and gave me this beautiful design.

Tuesday, hot and windy again. Coffman’s Cattle. Searched for and found a spot where I would have shade through the morning. Found my subject and started in. Got enough of the design in place before the cattle took off to graze. Note:  if it moves, lock it in quickly.  My color notes were incomplete, so I improvised a little bit. By the early afternoon, my easel and I were getting moved around a lot by 20+ mph winds again.

Wednesday, still hot, not as windy. Lewis Shack. Took a while to find the subject. I thought that it was a spring house, though it seemed to be too close to the house for that. Turns out that the owner is a ham radio operator. This shack is where he does his radio thing. Stumped for a title. I could not get past wanting to call it A Radio Shack, but I have a feeling that the legal powers at the retailer would disapprove. Finished the first then found a shaded spot where I could do a painting of their barn. Small and quick.

Thursday, overcast and a little cooler. The location is about 60 miles away. I arrived early and found a great vantage point for a unique view. This painting is not currently published.

Friday would be a short day. Center School. The powers to be decided that we should be done and off the property noon-ish. A lot of potential subjects, as well as, a lot of tall grass and brush.  I found a shaded spot near the end of the road/drive. I liked that play of the light hitting this building against the deep dark’s of the background woods. I knew that I had a little less than two hours to complete the work. Did it.

Back down on Sunday for the exhibition and sale. Wish that I had made better use of the day. Trickles of people throughout the day.  I had all six of my fresh paintings from the week plus a number of smaller paintings from the studio. I was disappointed. Not only did my work not sell, nor have any serious looks, but while in conversation with people, I witnessed a couple people take photographs of my work without my permission nor offering to pay for a photograph. You may say “So what?”. I look at this as stealing. The paintings are my product. If you are a farmer with a field of crops ready for harvest and I walk in to your field, grab a couple bushels of produce for my enjoyment and to share with my family and friends. I take your produce without asking your permission nor offering to pay you for the privilege, is that not stealing? How is this different? If people were to request an image, I would be glad to consider forwarding a watermarked version for them.

So I finished Sunday and all I was paid was a few complements. It surprises me that for an event such as this which celebrates the agricultural industry in Ogle County and the Plein Air arts tradition in Oregon Illinois that they leave this event short of what it should be for the artists (both the visiting artists and The Eagle’s Nest artists). Why are there no purchase awards made by the city of Oregon, the Oregon library, and or Ogle county. There are a lot of businesses in the county that are agriculture related, yet none of these businesses make any purchases to support the artists efforts. This event has gone on for about fourteen years and the organizers seem pretty content with the current structure. So be it.

Perhaps I should stick with the support which I witness at the events in Wisconsin.

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