My "Moss Creek" experience September 6th had left me hungry for more "green foliage turning to gold." Before my computer was shutdown by a virus, I had been developing studio works with cattle in them. The outdoor studies I did since have led me on an "autumn" tangent. Click on all photos to make the images larger.
Moss Creek, Carroll County 8 x 48 inches on cradled panel (above)
This was completed one morning after four hours of observation and hard work. I started with a blank primed panel. When working outside so much gets left off the panel. It takes resolve. It can be daunting. I kept an open mind, not knowing whether I would like the results. It took weeks to accept what it was.Placke's Pond (right) 6 x 20 inch cradled panel. This was completed the next day along the south river bottoms. A marvelous panel, complete with trees and rushes.
When I came upon the River's Edge (left), I knew the panels I had brought were far too small. Throwing caution to the wind, I dug out largest panel in the truck and hefted the 36 by 24 inch panel onto my easel and completed the lower portion, the remnant pier, embankment, reflections and tall blue sky. Both days had been productive. I planned to return with my camera.
On October 20th, following my afternoon jaunt pedaling on blacktop B,
-->.....I drove down past the Kipping farmstead, and up on top of the fifteen foot levee that held the Missouri River back from adjacent soybean fields. The grassy top was wide enough for a farm vehicle to drive on. It was a bumpy slow ride. I stopped, took pictures, continued on, stopped, snapped more, and so on.
The typically empty sky was crowded with voluptuous clouds. It was like sifting my hands through pails of treasure, there for the taking. I was unable to capture the foliage and the blue sky at the same exposure. Either the sky was too bright or the ground was too dark. So, I captured portions I thought I could work into a composition later. Such as a cluster of trees, a span of river, trees on the far bank, or a grouping of clouds. Taking photos was only part of the preparation. The real WORK happened when I gleaned through the "much found in nature" and came away with "precious morsels.....tidbits of color." In my studio I might try one thing, and then let my eyes digest what I have picked out with my brush, and then build on it. It was like picking certain letters from the alphabet to make words fit for a poem. The reference material I took was not for public display.
My upcoming Nebraska show will feature these morsels of labor.
Darkness met me on a sandy bank. All one could hear were distant elevators blowing, in the hope of freeing moisture from harvested soybean and corn crops.