Wednesday, December 28, 2011


"Wittenberg's Homestead"

Christmas season always brings with it interesting and out of the ordinary projects. This year I had two commissions where the painting was a gift from husband to wife and the painting depicts memories from the wife's childhood. "Wittenberg's Homestead" is located just outside Chicago where one of my collectors grew up. She has many fond memories of living on the farm, the friends she had, the schools she attended and all the work necessary in daily farm life.

Her husband approached me in November with the above photo from which I produced the painting below.

"Wittenberg Homestead" 9" x 12" oil/linen

A project like this allows me to tap into my illustration background and forces me to bring all of my landscape painting skills to bear. Having no field sketch to work from and a photo that has been tinted red with age,
determining colors becomes the challenge. Being from Texas and having very little experience painting snow also became a bit daunting.

My approach was to paint the barn first and then paint everything else in support of it. The Wittenberg sign on the fence was an important element but I didn't want it to overpower the barn so I dropped it into a shadow and by throwing a strong crossing light across the snow and barn I got a nice separation from foreground to middle ground. I couldn't really tell what the building to right of the barn was. Is it a silo or another barn of some sort? I covered it with a tree so it is in the painting but I haven't made a commitment as to what type of building it is. The other buildings in the painting were muted back in value so the barn would stand out more without painting the barn a bright red color. I painted the sky as an overcast wintery sky but a ray of sunshine lights the snow and barn.

I received a text from my client on Christmas day saying the painting was his best Christmas gift ever.


Peggy Kingsbury said...

Rusty, this is masterful. Congrats.

Brad Miedema said...

Its a beautiful painting Rusty! I love all your composition and lighting choices!

Bev Boren said...

A real treasure...just beautiful!

Rick Eakins said...

Rusty, for someone who doesn't get to paint snow often you sure did a great job. Looks like you need to start a card company sideline. Can I work for you?

Rusty Jones said...

Thanks everybody.