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.
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.