The Geometry of the Farmscape

Mountainview Farm, plein air, oil on panel, 9×12 in.

Hill & Dale Farm, plein air pastel, 9×12 in.

I have somehow evolved into primarily a plein air painter. This was not a conscious decision derived from a need to be a purist, it just seems to be the manner of painting that interests me the most these days. I don’t have a heated studio so if I am going to be cold I might as well be cold on location, or paint in my car and be warm. Since I currently live in a rural area, it makes sense to explore the outdoor painting opportunities that abound in the surrounding countryside.

Recently, I’ve been focusing on farmscapes in the towns near to where I live. There are many rambling, hillside farms that present a great opportunity for capturing atmospheric perspective and a change of pace from the urban elements I am used to painting. However, the rural farmscape is not that different from the urban landscape. Fields, fences, barns and yes, telegraph wires and poles, all offer the same geometric forms that are so perfect for carving up the space into a dynamic composition.

I have been taking my standard approach of doing pastel studies followed by paintings in oil–sometimes of the same view, other times of different views of the same location. I find working this way allows me to determine if there is enough “there” to warrant a painting in oil. I also work out color and compositional issues in the pastel, often using the pastel as a guide on location the way I might use it in my studio.

I’ve become fascinated with the farms as subject matter. I plan to create a small series of plein air farmscapes of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties. I hope to show them locally but need to find a venue–although I have representation in NYC, Philadelphia, Florida and Pennsylvania, I am somehow without a gallery here in New Jersey! 🙂

Mountainview Farm with Cows, plein air oil on panel, 9×12 in.

Hill & Dale Barns, plein air, oil on panel, 9×12 in.



2 Responses to The Geometry of the Farmscape

  1. Donna Stone says:

    thank you for opening my eyes to the beauty of the farms and the beauty of your approach, so logical, and very exciting too.

  2. Rachel DeRagon says:

    Inspiring! I believe tomorrow (my art day) I will take to the car and set off for some of the great sites in my area. Thanks!

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