Farm memories

Although I grew up in the city, I come from farming people. I grew up with so many stories of the farm, the family, and the various chickens, goats, and cows, that I sometimes feel I lived alongside my ancestors.

I’ve certainly romaticized their lives, although I know that it was a hard life; subsistence living is never easy. But I’ve heard their stories, told with a slight bitterness towards the privations, but mostly washed by a greater love of their lives. It makes me wonder if today, in our lives of relative ease, are we really happier?

Her Favorite Red Coat
Watercolor © 2011 Margaret Sloan

This is a small painting: 9″ x 12″ on Arches cold press. Yes, it’s from a photo-a black and white photo at that. Right now I’m enjoying working from black and white photos. They give me greater freedom in color choices and combinations. Unchained from the tyranny of the camera’s red-blue-green, I can make my own statements. (Of course, now that the painting has been fed back into the camera and computer, I can see errors that will need fixing, mostly edges that need softening.)

That little girl is all grown up now, and that chicken long emigrated to chicken heaven (grasshoppers and freshly sprouted gardens abound!). Some painters gripe about painters who paint from photos. “Why paint it if you can take a photo of it?” they ask. But without this dusty photo, I could not have made this sweet painting, and this little girl would have been lost.

Are you a painter? What do you think about using photos?

2 thoughts on “Farm memories

  1. No demarcation lines exist between arts and lives—-except in the minds of those who believe school imitates life. . . I love the transformation that occurs in painting from a photograph—it’s a revelation of the painter’s perspective, another ripple in the continuing spread of influence we feel from one another’s artistic renderings. Thank you!

    1. Well said Chris! Photos are simply another tool, a mnemonic for life when life can’t sit still long enough to be painted.

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