Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hay Bales in the Snow

Hay Bales in the Snow 6x6 oil, copyright 2011

The first painting of the year is also my smallest so far.  I took advantage of a post holiday sale and bought some 6" square clayboard panels.  These have a smooth surface and are designed for water media, but I coated them with a bit of pastel primer to give them the texture of very fine sandpaper, giving the oils something to grip on to.  I have 16 of these panels so I can experiment a bit with texture and color.

The idea behind the small size is to force me to simplify and to pay more attention to composition and light.  At this size, every brushstroke counts, so you really have to think about what you are looking at before you begin.  At the same time, they are very liberating because you just can't get caught up in the details and can't fuss about making it perfect.

This image is from a photo I took before the last snow melted.   I spent probably two hours that day just driving the back roads looking for interesting images.  In the fall there was a field nearby with hay bales, but when I drove past last week they were all gone.  On my way home I caught a glimpse of these and had to turn around and go back to get the shot.  The daylight was rapidly disappearing and the photo was actually too blue, so I pushed the colors to the lighter, warmer end of the spectrum.

By the way, if you have a wide screen monitor, when you click on the image it will appear larger than the actual painting.  Not sure if I like that idea, I can see all the little mistakes!


  1. Nice Erica! I am a big sucker for painting them. You did these proud! Keep after it! Happy New Year

  2. Thank you Bonnie! It's funny, most of the farmers around us seem to prefer the square bales, there are only a few who do these big round ones. I'm going to have to learn to keep a camera in my car to catch these shots, I think.

    I like the new blog, by the way. The paint-a-day is a good idea. I don't think I'll be able to do that, but I am trying to pick up my oils or pastels more often!

  3. Another excellent painting Erica. I like the idea of the small panels too. Could make for some interesting pieces. I have a place in my kitchen that I could hang a couple ... let's talk about it.

  4. You certainly got the composition right in this one, and I love the colours you have used. Very nice!