Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Paintings from July 2023

Corbin, Violet, and I have had a lovely July on the farm. The midsummer month of July always passes by like a sun-soaked dream when I look back on it. Its a month of hazy sunlight when the corn tassels and the chicory lines the roads. 
I got some good painting done in July 2023. I mostly worked close to home as our daughter is little and I want to spend as much time being close to her as I can. The still life paintings that are shown here were painted in my Grandmas flower garden. Grandma has been gone for a while now, but every year I get to see her perennial flowers and paint them. 
We took a trip to Chicago this month, and saw the van Gogh show at the art institute. It was a great memory for all of us. Violet cried when we were in the gallery, and we were asked by a guard to take her outside. A couple approached us while I was changing her on a bench in the museum, who had the same thing happen to them while they were at the Louvre. Their son cried when he saw the Mona Lisa, and they were asked to leave as well. He is 21 now. The time goes quickly, and we are trying our best to recognize the small moments while they last.
Finally, I painted a barn as it was being taken down this month as well. It was a great barn, one that I first painted 8 years ago. It had a special shed built onto the side of the barn, so that the horses would have room to stand when they pulled the haywagons into the barn. I will make a youtube video about this painting session soon, and post it here on the blog.
I hope you had a good July.
Thank you for reading,
Kyle Martin.

We never used kick-balers to make hay when I was young, but I always enjoyed seeing them at work. When we made hay, one person would drive the tractor, scooping up the cut and raked hay into the baler, and then one person would stand on the wagon and stack the small bales. With a kick-baler, you need a wagon that is like a cage that catches the bales after they are thrown high into the air. A dusty trail always follows the bales through their flight path. 
My Dad never wanted to have a kick baler, because he thought you couldn't get as many bales onto a load, and also some of the bales are broken when you get back to unload them. This may be true, but seeing one of these ejection baler operations in person can create an unforgettable memory.
18x24" oil on panel $1100

Door County Hollyhocks 16x20"
This is a painting of the beautiful hollyhocks in Fish Creek. The hollyhocks are across the street from By the Bay Motel, near the beach. I stayed at By the Bay during my first painting trip to Door County in 2011. On that trip, I met the staff of the Peninsula School of Art, and participated in a painting event called the Dockside Quickpaint. The staff invited me to teach workshops there, which I started the next summer. I remember looking at these hollyhocks on that first trip, and they are a nice remembrance of when my life as a painter was just getting started.
16x20" oil on canvas $600

Atmospheric Morning in the Baraboo Bluffs
In July, the chicory and Queen Anne's Lace line the curvy road which recedes into the atmospheric Baraboo Bluffs. The old foursquare farmhouse is shaded by the tall trees that stand proud in full bloom.
9x12" oil on canvas $175

Nick and Julia's House
14x18" oil on panel 

Lemonade and Hydrangeas 
With the arrival of our Baby this summer, I have been happy to do more painting around the farm, so that I'm never too far away. This was painted just steps from my door, in my Grandma's flower garden. The hydrangeas act as a backdrop to the lemonade that is spread across the table. I used my enamel pitcher this time around, and was able to capture the glow of light coming through the lemon that is on the rim of the glass.
16x20" oil on canvas $800

Lemonade Still Life with Phlox 
This is a Still Life that I painted over a series of mornings in July. The pitcher is my Mother's. I borrow it every summer for a painting or two. It is taller than any of my pitchers, and the lines are very elegant. There is a crack in the pitcher, but I don't paint that. On this morning, I painted the still life in my Grandma's perennial flower garden. The purple flowers created a foil for the yellow lemonade, which glowed in the summer sun. 
18x24" oil on canvas $1100

Lions at the Art Institute 
We took our 7-week-old Daughter to Chicago for our first family trip out of the state. We may have waited until she was a bit older, but there was a special van Gogh show that is only on view for the summer, we could not miss that. There were many paintings by van Gogh, Signac, Seurat, and Cross in the show, which focused on paintings that these friends made in the suburbs of Paris. I had seen many of these paintings and drawings on my trips to Amsterdam and Paris, but it was the first time several of them were on exhibition in the United States.
In one drawing, Vincent van Gogh wrote the colors that he observed on the subject, and I got a photo of my Daughter next to van Gogh's handwriting of her name, Violet. This was a special trip because it was our first opportunity to go somewhere to experience culture as a family. Violet will have many such opportunities. I made this painting on that trip.
12x16" oil on panel $550

Ben Logan's Seldom-Seen Farm 
This is the farm that Ben Logan reminisces about in his book, The Land Remembers. My Cousin and I went out there 15 years ago when Ben was still alive, and I painted a smaller painting for him that was used as promotional material to advertise a day of celebration of his life and work. The painting was gifted to Ben Logan, and it was one of his only possessions that he had with him, in his nursing home room, when he passed away. 
That painting has disappeared, and my Cousin and I were talking about it at a family picnic earlier in the summer. I decided to go back and make this painting of the farm to surprise him. Time really does fly by, all that happened so long ago and I really wish I could see that painting again as a remembrance of the day spent with my cousin James Schneider.
12x16' oil on canvas.

Skeleton Barn 
I painted two versions of this skeleton barn, which is on HWY CH, in July. This was the first version, and it was painted under a thick atmosphere that was influenced by the Canadian wildfires. The background is obscured by the smoky sky, and that creates a nice contrast for the bare structure of the barn.
14x18" oil on canvas $450

Skeleton Barn
I took my chance to create one last painting of this old barn while it was being taken down. I have painted this barn a few times through the years, and now it is gone. There are countless barns and old sheds that have been taken down in my area of Wisconsin. As my painting teacher once said, we are painting a passing landscape. If you look through the retired dairy barn, you can see a working dairy farm in the background that is still in use. 
30x40" oil on canvas $1400

Vernon County View
I found this valley, which is outside of Hillsboro, five years ago. I have returned every summer to paint, and have gotten to know several people who live there. I made friends with a young man named Ira in the valley, and like me, he lives on the family farm. Ira let me go up into his hayfield, which is high above the road and gives a bird's eye view of the farm and valley. I set up my large format easel and created this painting over a series of three mornings, starting at 7:30 each day. I had a consistent amount of haze and atmosphere for each painting session and was happy to capture the morning light falling over the valley.
36"x48" oil on canvas $1400


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