Friday, March 5, 2010

Two hours from home

Quite by accident I came across and packet of photos I had taken when I was, perhaps 18. They were taken with a 110 mm camera that I was in the habit of carrying in my bag along with my sketchbook. This camera has an absurdly small lens and film so the resolution is extremely low, however the images it produced are still some of the most interesting I have taken. They are oddly colored, sometimes very grey and lacking in contrast. Many of the prints were also damaged, some creased, while others had water damage which made them all the more attractive.
 ‘2 hours from home’ came out of a couple of those prints.

It was twilight. I was driving back to Calgary and Art College after visiting home. I stopped the truck and snapped some quick shots as the light faded. These cameras were really bad in low light so the shots were not the clearest or brightest however there was something. For me looking back over the years they carried the feeling of that landscape and brought back a memory that was so strong I found I needed to paint it.

I decided it needed to be large so I painted it as a diptych totaling 12 ft in length and 3 ft in depth. It would be my first large-scale landscape. I felt I needed to try to convey the overwhelming space and distance I feel when ever I am in Saskatchewan. With very little, if any deviation of the horizon you are left with room in you sight to see the landscape. The sky becomes massive and the fields and roads go on forever.

I started with a burnt sienna sketch painting with a flat watercolor brush. Working quickly I roughed out the basic shape and placement of the road and grain elevator. The light was very low and was just catching the tops of the hills. There was still a fair amount of snow in the fields. It contrasted nicely with the dark brown of the dry frozen grass.

two hours from home
oil on canvas (diptych)
36in (91.44cm) x 120 in (304 cm)

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