Kansas Hay Bales, acrylic, 12″ x 12″
I’ve lived in the same town since 1969. I have been painting on the country property of two artist friends for about 10 years. The result is that I have been seeing a lot of the same sights for a very long time. This leads to the obvious question, what can I paint that won’t look very similar to what I have already painted? There are several ways to look at this difficulty. An art teacher in college urged us to look at just about anything as a possible subject. She took us into a downtown alley and suggested we sketch trash cans.
It is true that we can always expand our notion of possible subject matter. I tend to favor colorful scenes, especially flowers or autumn scenes with yellows, reds, and oranges. And I’ve painted a lot of them. Lately I’ve noticed that I’m seeing more earth tones in my paintings. These kind of scenes seem to also lend themselves to studies of texture, which works well with a palette knife.
Another way to look at same old, same old scenes is from a different angle or a different shaped canvas. Recently I was once again on the same country property where I had painted so many times before. I almost despaired of finding something I wanted to paint. Large circular bales of hay are very common around here at this time of year and I have painted them before but usually as part of a larger scene, objects in the distance. So I decided to try something different. I happened to have a small square canvas with me, a size I seldom use. It was possible at the location where I was to get quite close to the bales so I decided to make them the center of interest. I enjoyed studying the colors and textures in them as I tried to put my impressions on canvas. The result is the painting above, which both I and my painting friends were quite pleased with.