New Hampshire Farm

New Hampshire Farm, 14" x 24", Pastel Premiere Italian clay

New Hampshire Farm, 14″ x 24″, Pastel Premiere Italian clay

Reference photo

Reference photo

Stage 1 with sky and background trees

Stage 1 with sky and background trees

Completed buildings before foreground added

Completed buildings before foreground added

Painting as completed on first date

Painting as completed on first day

Happy New Years to you all!  I have finally gotten back to painting for the first time since early December. Between a bad foot, then a bad back, then Christmas, it just wasn’t in the cards. So it felt good to get back to my studio.

When it was so cold, I spent some time looking at summer photos from New England. I found a picture of a farm in New Hampshire that we stopped to film on the road between Maine and Vermont.  I’m including the photo so you can see what it looked like. I love farms that have a series of buildings and I really liked the shapes of the house, barn and outbuildings in this farm. But the colors were kind of dull (to say the least!).  It was Sept. and so I decided to advance things a bit and put in a red tree and hints of red in the background.

While sketching and thinking about the painting, I decided to do it on a full sheet of Italian clay Pastel Premiere. I did the drawing at home, doubling the size of the farm buildings.  At first, I had it as 12 x 24. But later on, I decided it needed more foreground and added two more inches at the bottom. By placing the drawing in the middle of the paper, I was free to add as much as I wanted to the top or bottom.

I began with the trees and sky. I didn’t want them to be fussy!  So, I worked pretty quickly with them, using a variety of greens, blues, and violets, then adding some pieces of red and orange to give a sense of impending fall color.  I then began on the buildings. For the roofs, I began with a blue, then used a blue green on top–all Girault. I wanted something more interesting than the dull green in the photo.  For the white sides of the buildings, I first used a very hard Caran d’ache light “almond”, then added a softer yellow on top in places for emphasis.

There’s a LOT of detail in this picture!  The windows and cupolas were all rather painstaking to do.  I found I was using hard pastel a lot in order to keep things looking OK.

Compositionally, I lowered the bottom, as I mentioned, before putting in the grasses and I was much happier with it. Also, I moved foreward the small building to the left of the red tree. In the photo it’s roof is at the same level with the bottom of the barn roof, which I didn’t like.  By making it taller and a little bigger, it moved it foreward and broke up the line of the buildings, which I liked much better than what is in the photo.  I put the grasses in and left for the day yesterday.

Today I came back and took a good look at it. I immediately saw that the windows in the barn were too big and the dark open space was also too high.  I also tried to change the color of the barn (not shown) by adding blue to it. It seemed like there was too much of the same and I thought it might read like shadow. It didn’t!  And it called too much attention to the barn.  I really wanted the area around the red tree to be the focus of the picture.  But I did add some blues and pinks to the the three roofs to give them variety.  The roof of the barn is a big area that really needed to be diversified.

I’m so used to doing underpaintings that I’m sometimes stymied when I try to work directly. However, I knew that I didn’t want to lose the drawing.  I tried to use the paper color and let some of it show through a little, but there isn’t a lot of it. And I completely lost it in the barn after adding too much pastel and brushing off!

But I’m pretty happy with it now.  I’m interested in what you think of it.

6 thoughts on “New Hampshire Farm

    • Thank YOU so much Janet. This means a lot coming from you. I’m glad that you like it. Did you seem my Pumpkin Field painting?

  1. I do so appreciate the photos of your works in progress and the discourse explaining your working procedure. I look forward to your emails. Keep up the good work!

    By the way, I wish you and your loved ones a healthy and contented 2018!!!!!

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