Friday, September 17, 2010

Bullets and Water Tanks Don't Mix

Bullets and Water Tanks Don't Mix, oil/canvas panel, ©2010

I did this painting on site, but put it away for a few days to let it dry and come back to it with a fresh eye. When I did take it out again to look at it, I felt I needed to do a few things to make it better. I simplified the trees in the background to the right. Once I set them back, the bullet riddled water tank became the star, which is as it should be. I also added a couple of prickly pears at the base of the tank.

Detail 1

Detail 2

Detail 3

This was painted at the Spider Ranch in Arizona, which is a cattle ranch about 30 minutes from where I live. The foreman and his best hand kindly offered to take me back to where they were scattering salt in preparation for the gather later this month. It's very rough country out there, and not easily gotten into. We could have gone on horseback, but the salt blocks are 50 lbs apiece on their own and we needed to take in quite a few. So, the foreman took his pickup loaded with salt, hay and dogs, the long way... roughly a three hour trip. That left Amy and myself to take the quads in, going over what can only be loosely called roads. OK, they were roads back in the 70's, but now they are more of a suggestion of a road on a lunar landscape. It took an hour and a half to get to the tank, stopping along the way to set out the salt blocks. When at the tank, we had a great lunch of beef wraps and a very cold beer. Then I was left to paint, while they went out and did their work. The tank did have holes in it from hunters who practice their marksmanship by shooting this poor defenseless tank. Hey, how hard is it to hit a huge water tank anyways? I'm just askin'. The myriad of colors on this rusty metal tank is what caught my eye. When I got done, I realized I hadn't brought my panel box with me, which protects a wet painting from smudging. Luckily, Gail offered to take it in his truck and saved me from having to wipe it. Thanks Gail and Amy for allowing me to tag along. It was a very special day for me. I was grinning for days with the memory.

Thanks for looking, Steve


Vicky said...

Your stories are so enjoyable and the painting is lovely as it always is!

Gracia Molloy said...

Beautiful water tank in it's own unique way. I love the richness of color and the way you 'suggest' detail. Very nice indeed.
Gracia Molloy