Archive for the ‘Fields Project; Oregon, IL’ Category


Hazelhurst Summer

October 12, 2016
Hazelhurst Summer - Oil on Canvas Panel - 6" x 8"

Hazelhurst Summer – Oil on Canvas Panel – 6″ x 8″

Came across a watercolor sketch created a few years ago. Had some time available and decided to render the design in a small oil painting.


After the Rain

July 28, 2016
After the Rain - Oil on Canvas - 11 x 14

After the Rain – Oil on Canvas – 11 x 14

Had been working on a series of paintings incorporating big skies / clouds. Was searching for the subject of my next painting, when I witnessed the after effects of a passing rain storm. Used the sky applied to sketches from a plein air paintings created a couple of years ago. I have played with the design of this farm numerous times, but could never feel comfortable until now. This sky and rain effect make the painting.


Hay Farm – She’s Been Gone and Stand

July 22, 2014
Stand at Hay Farm; Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Stand at Hay Farm; Oil on Canvas Panel 6″ x 8″

The final day of painting at the final Fields Project. The location involved five neighboring farmsteads. By the time I arrived and toured the sites, it was getting late. I took photos for reference and set up to quickly paint a couple small studies.

Lunch was a bit of a bummer. I don’t look to get my ego stroked. But on the same note, I don’t like to get put down either. The women that were there were discussing numerous issues of local concern. Eventually one of them asked if I had any news to share about my work. I responded that I just received news from Woodwalk Gallery concerning a very nice sale. Before I could relate what I felt was a humorous quip about the sale, another woman quickly jumped my moment to relate how she just sold three of little works through a local restaurant. Killed the conversation. I finished my lunch and departed.

She's Been Gone; Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

She’s Been Gone; Oil on Canvas Panel 6″ x 8″


Morn Along West Grove

April 17, 2013
Morn on West Grove; Oil on Canvas 14" x 11"

Morn on West Grove; Oil on Canvas 14″ x 11″

A couple years ago during the Fields Project, I made a small watercolor sketch of this front porch (less the flowers). I loved the patterns of the shadows and the dappled sunlight on the grass. I was not happy with the finished watercolor. As sometimes happens with watercolors on location, I was unable to capture the values and colors that I saw. Perhaps it was the media. Perhaps it was the paper. No matter, it just didn’t do it for me.

Recently I came across the watercolor painting and decided to play with the design in oils. I did a couple pen sketches as a warm up and to reacquaint myself with the scene. The sketches woke me to the idea of including the pots of flowers to add color, items of interest and a stop to the center of interest.  Not sure that this will work in a larger format but it works well in this size. It was on display at the ArtScene held last week. Several people expressed interest in the work, but as of today, it is still available.

Speaking of ArtScene, I had a number of interesting conversations. One in particular was memorable. As I have noted in previous posts, I do not allow people to take photographs of my works. I have small signs posted at my display asking people not to take photos. Late Saturday afternoon one gentleman broached the subject. In a rather testy demeanor he asked why he was not allowed to take photographs of my works. I took a moment to look at him and determine whether he was  just kidding. I could tell by the look in his face that he was serious. I looked at him and inquired as to why he felt it necessary to take a photograph. Perhaps he had a good reason.

The fellow responded that perhaps he was just too cheap but he didn’t see the problem. I followed up by stating that in taking the photo, He gets some use out of the image. I however receive nothing to help me purchase more paint, or more canvases, or more brushes, or frames, or sketchbooks. It would not help me to afford the entry fee which I pay to be at ArtScene. It would not help to pay for the gas, or maintenance, or insurance for my car which enables me to find and paint these scenes or get all of these works out so the public can see them. It does not pay for the entry fees, or shipping charges to get these works into competitions where I can help to improve the value of my talents. It does not help me pay for my website. In summary, to take the photograph would allow him to have something of perceived value, while I would be left without the ability to continue to bring my vision, my art to the market.

Although I did not make the sale (which I knew would not occur anyway) at least he did not steal from me.


Tumbled Dry

April 9, 2013
Tumbled Dry; Oil on Canvas 11" x 14"

Tumbled Dry; Oil on Canvas 11″ x 14″

I was flipping through one of my sketchbooks and came across a design which I witnessed during the Fields Project a couple years ago. I decided to play with it. Happy with the results, but not sure that it will work in a larger format. I did receive a few positive comments during this past weekends ArtScene.


Morning at Spring Hill Farm

October 28, 2012

Morning at Spring Hill Farm; Oil on Canvas 18″ x 24″

I “started” this work late last summer. It has been on display, but I was not satisfied with it. I finally figured out what bothered me. The feeling of light on the barn was not as pronounced as it could be. I recalled that when creating the plein air piece during the Fields Project, the sunlight had been visible on the side of the barn for a few moments before clouds rolled in.

Since this work had not yet sold, I figured it was okay to make a couple changes to pump it up. After adding some Cadmium Red Light to the barn and a few adjustments to the foliage, it was finished. Actually worked as a good warm up before my day of painting.


Bin Deere, Done That

August 21, 2012

Bin Deere, Done That; Oil on Canvas 11″ x 14″

While participating in the Fields project a few years ago, I strolled down a country road during the final hour or so of the day. Along the way, I experienced the sight of a tractor parked in front of grain bins and took a photo. I took the photo to capture the details of the tractor.

A couple weeks ago, I came across the photo and admired the great abstract design possibilities. I spent a few minutes making quick thumbnail drawings to play with the design and find a format that I liked. I decided on this design and started in on it. It is always fun when you can work on a painting that seems to paint itself. Before I knew it, I was nearing the end of the painting and began to get cautious about going too far. It is all to easy to overwork a painting.


Dappled at Edgewood Farm

August 16, 2012

Dappled at Edgewood Farm; Oil on Canvas 18″ x 24″

Cleaning up the studio, I came across a failed watercolor. It sparked an idea.

A few years ago during the Fields Project, we visited a horse farm near Grand Detour. A couple artists went to the edge of the farm to paint the view of the fields. A couple of us found a nice shaded spot near one of the barns. Although the barn was an interesting subject, I found the view looking back toward the house to be of greater potential. I attempted a full sheet watercolor. A full sheet watercolor is difficult enough, but doing it en plein air on a windy day – ugh.

Although I was not happy with the intensity of the watercolor painting, I did like the design. I set the painting along a wall in my studio. I had hoped to either play with the painting or perhaps start over. There it sat..waiting.

Until this day. I came across that watercolor and decided to play with the design in oils. The poor watercolor served me well and was as a great resource in working this painting.


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.


Grand Detour – Study

May 15, 2012

Grand Detour Study; Oil on Canvas Panel 6″ x 8″

About three years ago during the Fields Project, I created a watercolor painting at a horse farm. The painting did not turn out well, but I felt that it had possibilities. The painting and the idea have sat and simmered since then. I have thought about this design numerous times.

The other day, I spent the morning plein air painting. It was a cool day and I had not dressed properly. I was chilled and after completing the painting, I headed home for some hot soup and a sandwich.

Following lunch, I went into my studio. I have a painting in the works but just was not motivated to work on it. The design of this horse farm came to mind. I ran upstairs, grabbed the watercolor painting and dashed back to the studio. I did this small study to refresh my memory in preparation for committing this idea to a larger format.