Friday, February 8, 2013

Winter's Bones

“I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future - the timelessness of the rocks and the hills - all the people who have existed there. I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.”
Andrew Wyeth

This is one of my favorite quotes from Andrew Wyeth. His paintings had a huge influence on me... I spent hours pouring over books of his drawing and paintings while growing up in Bucks County. My parents would take me to the Brandywine River Museum so I could see his work and that of his father, N.C. Wyeth. A framed print of  "Groundhog Day" hung in our kitchen where I would look at it every day and study the intricate color, texture and detail.

This past weekend I was thrilled to participate in the fifth annual Plein Air event to benefit the Chadds Ford Historical Society. The event provides such a unique experience!

It was a bitter cold weekend which made painting challenging. But I didn't mind... I had great winter gear to keep me warm and I was so enthused and inspired to be painting in Wyeth's country. At the suggestion of one of the Historical Society members, I ventured up Wylie Road and I was so glad I did! This beautiful red barn with classic white pillars appeared around a bend. It was perfect.

It took several "drive bys" to find a safe place to park just down from the barn. There was barely enough room to plant myself and my easel off the road but I managed.

As I painted the sheep and goats came over to check me out. I loved them!

The deep overhang of the barn's forebay created rich shadows and the texture of the weathered wood and stone were revealed in the midday sun. The view looking through the underside of the barn intrigued me - the stark contrast of shadow and the brightness of the plastered stone columns. I thought about this barn and the hands that had built it, the many seasons it had endured. The extreme weathered boards were so interesting in the sun, their texture catching the light. I especially loved the little worn path the sheep and goats had made in their daily grazing habits.

The subtle greens and golds beneath winter's dull grasses hinted of spring's impending arrival. For now, there was rest. And time to think, to reflect.


Elissa said...

I love that piece!

Taryn Day said...

Lovely painting, as usual, and I loved reading your comments about Andrew Wyeth, and winter landscape painting. That sheep looks like a wonderful painting companion.

Mary Byrom said...

Very nice blog Jane.

Jane Ramsey said...

Thanks Elissa! Taryn, thanks... the sheep were great companions. Would like to go back and paint them this spring. The owners said I could come back and go into the pasture with them... might try that as there is not much room on the roadside. I was wishing for orange cones (remember Mary!) like Jim Gurney uses when he paints outdoors. Thanks Mary... your blog is my inspiration!