This is where a photograph really helps to build a better composition. No matter how much I love the big red barn, it would easily take over my whole painting if I let it. I had to think about the painting as a whole so I moved the path a bit, making it more serpentine. When I was finished I thought it needed something else, so I added a dog. The dog appeared lonely so I gave him a friend and a master.
Now I scrutinize the painting and decide I like it even better. It has progressed from a painting about a red barn in the fall to a story about two dogs and an old woman raking her yard. Does it need a truck parked in front of the barn door as one person suggested to me? I;m not sure. What would the truck be? A way for the woman to escape her labor? I think she's pretty happy just being outside on the last days of autumn enjoying the exercise and the company of her furry friends.
This is the kind of painting I am more interested in doing lately. One that tells a story without falling into too much sentimentality. I have painted many plein air pieces over the past three or four years and while I enjoy doing them I need to keep in mind the main reason I began painting them was to learn how to paint a believable background for my 'people paintings'. Landscape painting has never been my main interest. People and the realities they live in have always been that.
Farm on County Road F