Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Harvest - after Van Gogh

The Harvest - 36 x 48
It was time for another study of an Old Masters painting. This time, a Van Gogh--one of Allan's favorites--The Harvest.
It is amazing how much there is going on in this painting. You don't realize it at first glance, but there are six people working in the fields, four carts, two horses, four barns, and about eight buildings in the distance. That's in addition to the hay fields, hay mounds and fences.
The fascinating thing was to try and replicate the brush strokes and the colors. I had a pretty good print of the painting in one of my art books, but it was still a challenge to capture those colors. What I discovered is that Van Gogh was a master at mixing muddy colors. They looked so yucky on the palette, but when I put them next to each other on the canvas, voila, they came alive. Genius!
Allan likes this painting. It is going to hang in our dining room. Our own Van Gogh!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunflowers and the Wind

Sunflowers and the Wind - 48" x 60"
This is my second large-scale painting about wind energy. It was inspired by the sunflowers that grew in my garden this summer. They were huge! I've never been able to grow sunflowers because the rabbits would always eat them at my other house. But the rabbits apparently don't like sunflowers here on the hill, and the deer didn't care for them--thank goodness! Plus I've always had a fondness for Van gogh sunflowers, so I decided to incorporate my sunflower inspirations into a story about wind energy.
To me, this painting symbolizes nature and wind energy coexisting in harmony. The tall stalks of the sunflowers replicate the tall towers of the wind turbines in the distance. The gentle winds that turn the blades on the wind turbines also cause the sunflowers to bend and sway, but they are resiliant and do not break. There is a life cycle to this painting as well. You can see the birth of a sunflower in the center, young sunflowers at the top, and a gracefully aging sunflower at the right. An Oregon Swallowtail butterfly (my favorite) alights gently on a leaf. The butterfly is a symbol of something temporary, because it will only connect with these sunflowers briefly, then fly away, like the electricity that is produced by wind turbines. It is temporary, used, then gone, like the winds that power the turbines themselves.
This is my story, but when you see this painting you will have to read your own story. I'm sure it will have different meaning, depending on your own experiences. Enjoy!