Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rimmed in Rust

Rimmed in Rust
So here, finally, is the finished painting of the McCormick-Deering tractor I discussed in my last post. It's currently on display in Harrisonburg, Va, at VMRC as part of the Shenandoah Valley Watercolor Society Members Exhibition.

I had really liked this painting . . . until I saw it in on display in the show. Now I think it's too small. It's not quite 10x10, and in that long gallery with its high ceilings, it felt weak. I had to search to find it, in fact.

So, I think my solution will be to do a larger version during the winter. I like the idea, the composition, the colors...but I think it's got to be larger.

Aside from the size issues, there are many things that I still like about this painting, particularly the textures. In real life, this tractor is a rough beast, with layers and layers of paint covering its heavy frame.

I think I've accentuated those textures here. I used wet-into-wet techniques on the wheel, with pigments bleeding into one another to create the age spots and dominant highlight. For the gray-blue tractor body, there are many careful layers of paint, with lots of little dots in selected areas. I put my fine-pointed Loew-Cornell series 7020 brushes to good use on this painting.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I finished this painting a while ago, but I'm only now getting around to posting any images of it. It's currently hanging in the Shenandoah Valley Watercolor Society Show in Harrisonburg, Va., at the Park Gables Gallery at VMRC.

I've had this idea in mind for a few years. The old McCormick-Deering tractor is an outdoor display at the nearby Lost River Museum. I've painted the scene with the tractor twice before, but as more traditional landscape compositions.

However, I've always wanted to crop in more tightly on the tractor itself. I helped the group that sanded the tractor down and applied fresh paint prior to its dedication as a museum display, so the hands-on experience helped me appreciate the complexity of the tractor's assembly. There's incredible texture and weight in each individual component, and the shapes and colors are fascinating to explore.

So, years after first entertaining the idea, I've tried to break the composition down into a collection of shapes that entertain my eye, but is still recognizable as a steel-wheeled tractor.