Posts Tagged ‘Fields Project’


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.


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.


Buds and Barns

August 13, 2012

Buds and Barns; Oil on Canvas 16″ x 20

Back from vacation. Decided that I need a couple larger works for submissions to an upcoming competition. I used sketches,  a photo and a small study to create this work. Artistic license on this. The buildings were actually Ochre (although the owner refers to them as gold). The vegetation between the buildings were not flowering – they were weeds. The day of my visit was overcast, very little sun.


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.


Before the Entrance

November 7, 2011

Before the Entrance, Oil on Canvas 24" x 18"

Although the final colors of autumn were calling, I worked on this painting as a submission to a competition. I would rather have been outside trying to capture the last hurrah’s before the really cold stuff settles in, but deadlines are deadlines.

This is an idea that has been brewing for a few months. I witnessed this scene during the Fields Project in June.  I love to look up at the sides of these buildings just as I enter them. The patterns, the lines, the foreshortening get to me. I like to find these designs which most people do not see.

A forecast of rain for tomorrow. I hope that the rains and wind are calm, leaving a few leaves and colors for me to capture en plein air later this week.


June at Vogel’s

September 20, 2011

June at Vogel's, Oil on Canvas 20" x 16"

View at Vogel's - Study, Oil on Canvas Panel 10" x 8"

Due to a foot problem, I could not go out to paint. I could not stand at my easel. But I could sit and paint.

I played with a sketch made during the Fields Project in June. The view is looking northeast from inside a barn. I edited some of the scenery out. Played with the small painting first. Satisfied, I took it to a larger size.


West Ogle Morn

September 8, 2011

West Ogle Morn, Oil on Canvas 11" x 14"

Painted in my studio from some sketches made during the 2006 Fields Project.

Early morning and I am meandering over gravel roads on my way to a breakfast. I gathered sketches and a few photos along the way. Following breakfast, I created a couple small watercolor paintings of the folks farm.