An Army of Hope on the Move


 Apple season; roadside stands selling the best apple cider, fields of gold and artists looking for those hidden places to capture on canvas. Autumn is closing in, inspiring artists to get out of their messy dusty studios to create prose with color and brushes. Fingerless gloves, worn hats, paint spattered pants and smocks - an army of hope is on the move. Art exhibitions are in the making. 

I remember in art school, everyone who'd planned weekend trips to farmland returning on Mondays with paintings of red barns, white houses and bright yellow maple trees, all painted from a distance. Three, maybe four, weekends the autumn colors would inspire then it was back to nudes and costume models,  a few still-life paintings of Indian corn and pumpkins would get frames for those winter time art exhibitions.

This is how it was and still is for many because this is what artists do. A few will see more when out there hunting for those award-winning paintings. I remember my first trip out painting on the spot. I chose the Aurora Round House, not because I wanted to be different, but because I had no car and no way of getting to my relatives farms. Even if I did get manage to get out to one of their farms I'd have been put to work. So I carried my paints a few blocks to the railroad yards and did a painting of the interior of the round house. 

Monday at school all I got were puzzled looks. One of the teachers recognized the fact I was familiar with my subject - which I was, it was where my dad worked so I was quite familiar with the round house. It's important to know your subject. Even a red barn from a distant can be more interesting in a painting when you are familiar with the workings of a farm. Uncle Melvin's red barn was in need of fresh paint and and new framework around the doors from all the cows scratching their backend on those doorways. When I did make it to his farm I did a painting of my cousin's rabbit hutch. Every time I got to one of my uncles farms I found things more interesting to paint than just the barns themselves. As a kid I loved exploring the barns, watching the cows from above and the barn owls feeding mice to their young. It's why I understood Andrew Wyeth's paintings.