Oil on Linen
H & G Horse Quarters, Auburn, Alabama
I try these days to always have my paint box ready to go in case I have extra time or I am finding myself stuck somewhere. On this day, I had to leave the studio early to take the kids to the horse barn for riding lessons.
A farm is a wonderful place for a painter. It has subjects in abundance and the only challenge is deciding what to paint. My time was limited and in my haste, I only brought a few colors, but they would do. The weather was exceptional for Alabama. The sky was vivid blue and huge storm clouds were moving quickly, changing the landscape in minutes from sunny to overcast to raining and back to sunny.
The spot I picked was right out of a “How to Choose the Perfect Landscape Composition” book. It has a nice road with an S-shaped turn, a line of trees, great light, and shadow. I seized upon it, quickly set up, sketched in the basic shapes, and marveled on the fantastic light and shadow shapes. I mixed up the first shadow color and the clouds moved in. There would now be light patterns in the piece and it would also be a nice tonal painting.
As I progressed, I started to see drops of water on the canvas, then more drops, and then a steady rain began. The great thing about oil paint is that oil and water don't mix. You can keep on painting. The rain does, however, make oil paint react in a completely bizarre way. As I was finishing, the clouds moved on, the sun broke out, and the beautiful shadow shapes reappeared. It was all I could do to resist trying to put them in. That's never a good idea when you've reached completion. That landscape would be another painting and it will be brought to canvas on another day.