Yesterday I continued with my watercolors and created one of Morris farm’s vast fields. I was struck by the many changes in the land gradient as I scanned the horizon. With this watercolor I put down a red underpaint like I have been doing with my oils. Compared to my previous watercolors, the colors are much richer.
Another aspect in which I hope to explore further in this project is abstraction. The methods of construction and the materials especially play an important role in the history and character of the farm structures that I have been focusing on. This painting is the first of multiple abstract material studies that I plan to do. It is a detail of the corrugated metal siding of a WWII Quonset hut located at Crystal Springs. An interesting quality that I like about this painting is that at first it is seen as an abstract painting with the ability to be many things. Although, once told that it is the siding of a Quonset hut the texture, ridges, rust and shine of the metal start to become evident.
Last week I was pleased with the way in which the Sparrow Farm shed study turned out on the found tile, so I continued further with studies on tile for potential larger paintings. Today I made oil studies of the Crystal Springs silo (6″Wx8″H) and slaughter house (4″Wx4″H).
Today I started the painting of the Sparrow Farm shed. It is one of the largest paintings that I have ever done (5’Wx6″H), so it was pretty exciting to begin. I first under-painted the canvas with burnt sienna to make the colors in the painting more vibrant than they would a plain white gessoed canvas. After that dried, I began to add the base colors throughout the whole painting. I plan on continuing with this painting tomorrow.
While in the studio due to rain today, I was forced to put my watercolor sketches on hold and take a new step in the project which consisted of planning the subjects of my larger oil paintings. During my visit to Sparrow Farm I was struck by the character of their incubation shed. The structure has a new metal roof and concrete heated base. These new elements piece-made with much older rustic materials create a unique character that a new structure could not be able to hold. To determine composition, and color, I made a quick oil study of the shed on a piece of tile that I found in the left over materials in my studio. This study will be the prelude to a 5’Hx6’W oil painting on canvas.
Week three consisted of more traveling, talking with farmers, documenting, and painting. On monday the 21st I returned to Crystal Springs and talked with Seth the head farmer as well as took many pictures of the different structures and animals. Tuesday I had a long day of visiting Morris, Sparrow, Leslie, and Goranson farms. The day was very successful as I was able to get some great pictures, paint a few watercolors and learn some about organic farming. Sparrow Farm was a
great example of organic farming as well as having one of Maine’s only solar powered greenhouse. On Thursday and Friday I traveled to the Chewonki Foundation and was able to visit their farm during my stay. A boys summer camp is held there during the summer. Campers help with some farming responsibilities and the produce is also frequently used in the meals that are served each day.