Close Call

CloseCall

 

 

Close Call
Xwaaqw’um XIV
oil on birch panel, 48″ x 26″

This painting is of a view through the valley fields in early June, after the first crop of hay has been cut and raked into windrows. Some areas in “First Cut Field” are too marshy for hay, but most fields are kept cut anyway, as part of the park’s programme to manage the spread of Hawthorn and Scotch Broom. As I set up my sketching easel here, well out of their way, I could hear Ted and the boys hard at work in an adjacent meadow. The farmers are in the valley from first light till dusk, for days on end, trying to get the hay cut and dried, then baled and loaded before the weather breaks, ruining the crop.

In this work, my “outer” subject is the “Close Call” of the title, referring to the crew’s labour to get the hay in under a threatening sky (they just made it), while my “inner” subject is the paint itself and, by extension, the energy of its alla prima application as I build the strong abstract shapes of my composition. Marshall McLuhan actually lifted the famous quote attributed to him – “the medium is the message”- from an abstract-impressionist painters’ manifesto. It holds true to this day for artists who don’t wish to pacify the viewer with painted photographs.

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