Sunday, August 02, 2009



My good friend Judy Bauer asked me to create a painting of their family farm as she wished to as a surprise to her husband Gene with the painting for Father’s Day.

I don’t take such assignments lightly. No, I wrestle with them. Judy and I hadn’t been able to make a trip to their farm, which was a few hours drive away, but she had given me a few snap shots as reference. Arm in arm and all smiles, their family stood posing together beside a tidy row of cylindrical hay bales. A tall corn field, stately barn and clear blue sky completed the serene setting.

Studying the photos, I felt the pride this family had in this piece of land. I could see it and I could feel it but the vision that was having was drifting away from the reference photos I held. This is where commissions get tricky for me. Who’s vision am I painting? There is no easy answer. Is it my vision, their vision or my vision of their vision? See, it gets tricky.

A really safe way to handle the situation would be to paint the reference photo verbatim. B O R I N G ! Well, I just can’t go there. It’s not my nature but I still had issues within myself to resolve.

AND THEN IT CAME TO ME – (I just love revelations) by drawing (ha!) a comparison of visual works to works of words I could justify my interpretation to myself and the Bauer's. An artist’s goal is to create works that need no explanation but commission work is special deal and as Judy is a writer I knew she could relate to this twist.

Dry factual writing verses poetic.

I saw the reference photos as factual descriptions of the land as it might be listed for sale and in contrast I viewed the painting I was creating as a poem.

And so it is - ODE TO BAUER FARM.


Kristen Croft said...

It was fun to see this work in progress and now the final masterpiece. I love your avoidance of the color brown!