Night Reaper

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.

Night Reaper. Acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14. Kit Miracle

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?

4 responses to “Night Reaper

  1. Really like this one! Maybe you should do a “farm” series?

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    • Thanks, Carolee. I imagine that this scene is familiar to you in your neck of the woods. It fascinates me how they can do their work at night but the lights are so bright. Will think about the farm series. I tend to paint “local” to where I am anyway. Not counting travel paintings.

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  2. I love this.

    I live in a farming area too. Farmers work very, very long days at certain times of the year. Back in the day, when I took a temporary harvest job as a teenager, I did a little bit of working into the night … enough to convince me not to become a farmer! I do think farm country has an epic quality to it, with the long lines of sight, distant horizons, and good views of the sky.

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    • Thanks, Jennifer. Yes, farming is a hard job. Detasseling corn was a job for kids when I was growing up. I don’t know if they still do that but it used to be done by hand. You could encounter a lot of really yucky stuff in the acres of stalks.

      I love the views of the night skies in the country and often feel sorry for city people who never get to enjoy the thousands of stars that appear.

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