Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Family Farm

Soft Sky Over Farm, 2008, Oil on Panel, 12x24

My mom's cousin Judy, who lives on the same farm in Ohio where my grandmother grew up, sent me a bunch of photographs of their beautiful barns. Since I have become intrigued lately with painting clusters of barns, I was immediately interested in using her photos as reference. Her photos were beautiful, great light, great composition, but it turns out that they were maybe too good. I found it to be very difficult to translate them, perhaps because they weren't my vision in the first place.

I had suspected this may be the case for quite awhile. Doug takes pictures and even they they are almost exactly the kind of landscape imagery (and sometimes he'll even take a shot of a barn that he thinks I might like) that I like to paint, I have not really felt interested in using his photos as reference. And I don't take great photos or anything, in fact the worse they are the better they are to work from. Guess the painting just works better when it's my view that I begin with. Thank goddess!:) It is all me after all.

But.

I really wanted to portray the family farm and because I like to think that I can transcend the reference if I have to, I decided to work from Judy's photos. The first few paintings I did crashed and burned, the third one was good and was included in a solo show, the next one was ok, and then the one pictured above worked out pretty well. It is my favorite so far. I struggled with the sky/treeline relationship, and after wiping off the paint a few times, I finally covered the whole area with green and then worked back into the sky with the blue. Normally I paint in sections but I liked changing it up and I am pleased with the soft and moody sky here.

I guess this painting represents quite a few lessons learned.

7 comments:

Natalya said...

Thank goddess indeed... the family farm looks fabulous. but I guess you don't want me to take pix of my in-laws farm for you this weekend?

Veronica Funk said...

I find that I need to take away a feeling of a place or object in order to represent it the way I like...though I have occasionally used others images, but find that I have to put the photos away once I start painting.

Jayne Rose said...

Tracy, I really was drawn in by the warmth and light on the barns in this painting.

I understand completely about using someone else's photography. Trying to explain that to potential commission customers is difficult. So, now I just say, sure I'll do it, but the photo will be taken by me...

How's the attic studio coming along?

Melody said...

This is a beautiful piece Tracy. I love the feeling of warmth it presents.

Tracy said...

Thanks Natalya, well, ok! I am still willing to keep trying!

That's a great point Veronica, and I believe that the feeling one takes from a place is very important when trying to represent it somehow. Love the cups, by the way!

Thanks Jayne. Wow it didn't even occur to me about using other's photography for commissions. I guess that would be tough! You have come up with a good compromise though.

Thanks Melody, glad that feeling projects.

Casey Klahn said...

I see the red, violet and ultramarine roof shapes, and I like the way you pushed back the trees.

Bravo!

Lisa said...

I love this piece - your barns are always wonderful.

Add me into the me-too's. Several people send me pictures of fences or rocks or canyon walls and they just don't inspire me the same as my own photography.