The phrase “like night and day” is used to describe a change from one extreme to another. My goal for this series has been to visually communicate this idea while drawing from the scenery of my childhood home in rural Idaho. It’s a place I had to learn to love, a wide open and sometimes even empty plain that inhabits the space between more broadly appealing valleys and mountain ranges. Here the barns, silos, sheds, cellars, and fields that so often delineate farming towns seem to defy an otherwise infinite backdrop.
My work studies these scenes in various lighting conditions, with light and shadow carrying the emotional payload of experiences I’ve had here. “Caves”, one of the first pieces in the series to be completed, focuses on dynamic shadows cutting across the face of a shed during an otherwise static winter night. “Hometown Hero”, a later piece completed on a larger scale, studies a repurposed grain elevator receiving the warmth of the late afternoon sun while reaching upward through the pale blue sky into a ceiling of cloud. My process begins with small sketches that address the value pattern which is so critical to expressing these statements of light and shadow, time of day, and atmosphere. I then complete small color studies in oil paint, working to reinforce the value statement with my choices in color. These preliminary works then serve as reference for the finished piece which I paint in studio.
Taken together, the paintings demonstrate how each experience with a place in a different light contributes a new layer of meaning. My experience growing up has taught me that this holds especially true for the places that are most familiar. These layers of meaning, when considered together, can sometimes amount to a surprising change in perspective. My hope is that my audience can share with me in this experience, as I’ve found in coming to appreciate the place I come from that the difference can be like night and day.