It is not unusual here in the Midwest to see farmers harvesting late into the night during the season. Last year our renter harvested past one in the morning. Only fatigue drives them inside.
Earlier this week, the farmer was rushing to get the corn in before the rain predicted the following day. The giant combine looks like some eerie monster gobbling up the stalks, spitting the debris out the back. The grain trucks meet the combine in the field to be filled and cart away the gold.
I have always been fascinated by night activities such as these and I sneaked out to take a bunch of reference photos. I don’t know why I have to sneak on my own property but I felt compelled to do so, hiding in the shadows and behind the trees. With the low light conditions and the movement of the equipment, most of the photos were blurred but I managed to get some good shots, too. I was just using my phone camera, not my good camera.
The clouds were scudding across the night sky, alternating blotting out the nearly full moon and then darkening everything. The lights on the equipment were dazzling. The dust kicked up by the harvest hung in the air like smoke, sometimes caught in the blue light of the moon.
I find night subjects to be interesting and compelling in a totally different way than daytime subjects. I’ve sketched leaning up against buildings in Times Square and have painted the buildings of the city seen at night. Watching diners through the window of a restaurant can be fascinating.
What is going on in your neighborhood in the dark that is worth capturing in art?
My painting activities often insert themselves into my dreams. That’s probably an occupational hazard from creating so much. Reading about art, making art, visiting art. It doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I find that I have worked out a painting problem in my sleep.
But a while back I woke up with a most vivid image in my mind. Very bright colors, semi-abstract, nothing like my usual subject matter or palette. Fortunately, I was able to keep the image in mind (it was that strong) and later captured it in my studio. This does not happen often.
This led to several other paintings in a similar vein. Bright colors, semi-abstract, nature themes of birds and flowers and trees. A few recognizable subjects of water and ponds, bridges and houses. Vivid skies and vegetation.
I’m calling this my Dreamland series. There are about seven paintings so far. I’ve been distracted with some other work lately so I hope that I can get back to this idea or state of mind. The bright colors just make me happy.
I don’t have these listed for sale yet as two of them are on exhibition right now. But check back later in my Etsy shop KitMiracleArt to see if they’ve been added.
Sometimes we just need to follow our intuition and have fun creating. Or so I think.
October started out pretty warm with temperatures in the 80s. However, with November’s arrival, the past week or so, we’ve had some heavy frosts and night temps have dropped to the 20s. Daytime still warms up to the 50s and 60s. This is a perfect time to do some plein air painting. The garden has been cleaned out and outdoor work has slowed.
Last Monday I picked up my friend Bill Whorrall to go out and do some work. Southern Indiana is so beautiful this time of year with the fall colors and hilly terrain. We decided to paint along the East Fork of the White River near Shoals. We checked out several spots but eventually landed at the nature preserve Bluffs at Beaver Bend. You can only drive a short way in, then hike along the path with the river on your right and the sandstone bluffs on your left. So many picturesque scenes to paint.
I decided to paint this big rock with the river behind it. Bill traveled a little farther up the path to capture the sandstone cliffs in some ink sketches. We saw an eagle traveling along the river but unfortunately didn’t get any photos.
It was so peaceful there but not as isolated as we had thought it would be on a Monday morning. Several groups of hikers including a few guys from Chicago. They said they always try to get away together this time of year and go someplace within a day’s drive.
We worked for a few hours and then the wind picked up and we began to get chilled. I got about 75% of my painting done and then finished it up at home. I dropped Bill off at his house where his wife Karen had made a vegetable cheese soup, sandwiches and dessert for lunch. I think we welcomed the warmth of the soup as much as the food.
Afterwards we toured Karen’s extensive garden which was still producing raspberries and some other goodies.
Then for a lovely ride home through the autumn colors.
I'm a professional artist, retired director of a performing arts center, bona fide book addict, and enjoy the quiet life...most of the time. I'd love to hear from you or get your ideas for future posts. Come back soon!