Saturday, June 4, 2011
Down On The Farm
Long before L.L.Bean set up shop, and the town council lost their minds and let anyone with the last name of "Outlet" take over the town, Freeport was a quiet country town on Maine's coast. Still holding on to the remnant of what once was, Wolfe's Neck Farm operates as a working farm clinging to the thin soil along the rocky coastline. It is a lovely site. From the century old farm house, the ground is acres of rolling verdant meadows that slope gently down to the shoreline.
Back in the day, coastal property wasn't worth much. It's soil is thin with plow-breaking rock a mere inches below the topsoil, so farming wasn't very good. It was generally the property of sea going types who had no need to grow anything. Land on the coast could be had for half of what the same amount of acres cost farther inland.
Then someone noticed the view.
The same Atlantic ocean that was thought of as nothing more than a salt water desert became an object to admire and desire. So the land was bought up, mansions were built, access to the water cut off by the new land owners, and the farms disappeared. That's where Wolfe's Neck Farm comes in. The town of Freeport actually had the foresight to set aside the land that this old farm occupied so that future generations could enjoy a little taste of what earlier generations took for granted. But nothing is free, and Wolfe's Neck Farm needs cash to operate, just like any business.
The folks on the farm are using us artists as fund raisers. This week, about a dozen or so of us are painting en plein aire around the farm, and these paintings will be auctioned off on June 18th. I went out there to work on mine today. Here is my start:
And here is what I'm actually looking at:
When I showed up, there were several cows standing around this scene, doing typical cow things. As I blocked in the picture, they got bored and left. That left me with no cows. I have to put the cows back in, or nobody would know I was on a farm. You may wonder as to why my painting is in black and white? That's my standard method. I'll block in a scene, then go back and apply color. I knew that I would not finish a complete painting today. I'm going back at the same time tomorrow to work on it some more. Then I may tweak it a bit in the studio before I submit it for auction on Friday. I'm not overly concerned that it may not be a plein aire as is commonly understood today, all I care about is that it's a good painting, and can fetch a good price. Years from now, nobody will give a rats ass that I did this over the course of a few days.
I'll post a picture on how this comes out-- good or bad. (Although, I'm hoping for the good.) After all--how can I let a face like this down?