Saturday, July 2, 2011

Landscape Painting Workshop at Bald Hill Farm

Bald Hill Farm is the site of the 2nd western settler to the Corvallis area, Johnson Mulkey. The farm is 587-acres of strategically located open space and to help sustain the rural character of the Willamette Valley Greenbelt Land Trust is raising money to purchase the property. The goal is to raise $2 million in community contributions and private foundations to protect the farm adjacent to Bald Hill Natural Area, where public trails combine with cows, endangered wildlife and plants find refuge, and children come to learn about the natural world. This is an urban Farm that supports local food production, ecological restoration, recreation and education. There is nothing else like it.

To help in this efforts I was asked to lead a plein air workshop at the farm. It was a beautiful spring morning with a slight overcast so it was not too hot. I met about a dozen artists at the farm and gave a quick talk about how I approach an outdoor subject and then we dispersed for a morning of painting. I had a few people watch as I worked on my piece and we talked about the choices I was making and the birds and animals we spotted. At one point a flock of wild turkeys crested the hill top and we watched the tom's strut their stuff for the hens. Around mid morning a flock of sheep also appeared from over the hill and took refuge under the shade of a huge White Oak tree in the pasture. At noon we ate our lunch and shared the paintings started that morning as well as work the Greenbelt Land Trust was doing to preserve this magical place.

The top picture is my painting from that morning. I was far from finished with it, in fact one of the last things I did before lunch was to remove a tree I had placed smack dab in the center of my canvas! The only thing that remained was the top and it became the tree to the left of the barn. I placed the painting in my living room where I could study it for a while and decide what to do to finish it.

After looking at the painting for a few days I decided the pasture was too boring, and needed something to give it some intrust. I thought about adding some wild flowers and then remembered the sheep that morning at the farm. I live in the country and my next door neighbor has some sheep. One escaped through the fence and was happily munching grass in my pasture. Instead of running out to chase the beast from my grass I decided to grab my pencils and start sketching him into my painting. He was quite accommodating, first posing one way and then another till I had a whole flock of sheep grazing on the grasses in my painting.

The second picture is my final painting. I like it so it must be finished! I will be donating this to the Greenbelt Land Trust and they will auction it off as part of their fundraising. I am honored to be part of preserving this special place.

"Urban Farmland" 12" X 12" X 2"
For Sale Through The Greenbelt Land Trust auction

1 comment:

Jenna Doucette said...

You're Amazing Dude!

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