Thursday, April 21, 2011

OAC landscapes...

The Ohio Arts Council requested landscape paintings from Ohio artists. Here are a couple of my submissions. Landscapes aren't my favorite thing to paint, but it was fun to get out the watercolors again.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting for spring to arrive.

We went out to the farm today. We were hoping to plant some of the fruit trees which came in the mail late last week. They are bare rootstock, from a company in Michigan. In our zone, April is the ideal month to plant them. The weather hasn't allowed us the chance. We've had several storms come up from the south dumping tons of rain. Ohio has also been faced with punishing winds, less than optimum conditions to plant little apple trees. So instead we went to the county courthouse to look for any records they may have about this history of our farm.
Utica gas extraction is coming to Ohio. Apparently this is similar to the Marcellas shale mining that is currently going on in PA. We aren't sure whether or not we will be approached, or what our neighbors plan to do. We want to have a clear understanding of what contracts are currently on our property and what our rights are. The whole thing is mind-boggling. Some landowners in Pennsylvania weren't careful about the agreements they signed and thus ended up with nightmare scenarios. Hopefully, we won't make the same mistakes.
We found a bunch of leasing agreements that dated back to as early as 1937. Some of them seem to be expired. Most of them deal with allowing the companies to keep pipelines that run across the corners of the property. One contract talks about rights to look for natural gas and oil but it seems to be expired. I have to read them carefully which is as dry as toast. We also have to contact one of the gas companies. We are entitled to a rental payment of ten bucks per year for one of the lines. That will buy us a celebratory breakfast at Waffle House. Can't wait.
Even though the papers are dull to read, I can't help but be intrigued by the history of the farm. Seeing the Hoovers and the neighbors names and signatures on the documents make them seem more real somehow. I wonder about the negotiations. Were they railroaded by the oil companies? Did they cut some sort of side deals? It looks like one of the agreements gave them free heat for a while, it's a shame that wasn't still going.
Our farm was in the previous family for for 126 years. They must have known a few things to keep the place that long, through two world wars and the depression. Some of their relatives have visited and related funny stories which I will share later.
Hopefully the weather will break soon and we will be able to get the trees in the ground. I took a few photos today that offer signs of the promise of spring and wonderful things to come this year.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rodeo Redo.

2011 Version- acrylic and colored pencil on board

2005 Version- transparent watercolor on hot press paper

I've gotten the chance to experiment with acrylic paint over the last several months. In March I decided to redo a painting that I did in 2005. It is one of my scenes from the Fort Worth rodeo. I painted it in water color, and then later digitally in Corel Painter but I never was 100% happy with the technique. I painted it one more time in acrylic and colored pencil. I've enjoyed the process. Acrylic allows me the ability to rework areas of the picture, unlike watercolor which can be unforgiving.
As I look at the two versions I am not sure which I prefer. I think I am going to paint in watercolor next.
When I get the latest version finished, I will scan it for a clearer image.