#56: Last Farm Standing

#56: Waikato Landscape (Oil on Canvas Panel, 44 x 30.5 cm)
#56: Waikato Landscape (Oil on Canvas Panel, 44 x 30.5 cm)
#56: Waikato Landscape (Oil on Canvas Panel, 44 x 30.5 cm)

This was an exercise in painting a landscape fairly accurately. The view is of a dairy farm that I pass each day on my morning walk. In this view I am looking north with my back to the city of Hamilton. The source photo is shown below.

Num-56-Source (2)

The abstract design of the fields and the water ditches leading the eye are helpful. The painting is OK but I still have much to learn. For one, I feel I pushed the value range too much – there is something I now like about the close values of the source photo which I did not see when I did the painting.

Farms like these that lie between Hamilton and the small town of Ngaruawahia seem to me to be getting fewer by the season as the Hamilton suburbs crawl over the green hills of New Zealand toward Auckland like a carpet being unfurled.

As a part-owner of a small business I welcome economic growth – but if I think about the natural diversity being destroyed, and how much of a burden each new set of 100 houses places on the environment – the more primitive part of me cannot help but sense that this is all going to end badly. If not for us, then for our children or grandchildren.

All over the world, people watch paralysed as politicians without imagination cheer us on toward the abyss. The poet Louis Jenkins hinted at this dynamic when he wrote his awesome prose poem, Library:


I sit down at a table and open a book of poems and move slowly into the shadows of tall trees. They are white pines I think. The ground is covered with soft brown needles and there are signs that animals have come here silently and vanished before I could catch sight of them. But here the trail edges into a cedar swamp; wet ground, deadfall and rotting leaves. I move carefully but rapidly, pleased with myself.

Someone else comes and sits down at the table, a serious looking young man with a large stack of books. He takes a book from the top of the stack and opens it. The book is called How to Get a High Paying Job. He flips through it and lays it down and picks up another and pages through it quickly. It is titled Moving Ahead.

We are moving ahead very rapidly now, through a second growth of popple and birch, our faces scratched and our clothes torn by the underbrush. We are moving even faster now, followed closely by bulldozers and crews with chain saws and representatives of the paper company.

Louis Jenkins – this version copied from Warrior Poets

My sincere thanks to all of you who follow my blog and encourage me with likes and comments.

Oh yes – below is the underpainting for #56:


13 thoughts on “#56: Last Farm Standing

      1. you’re welcome! ps…. do you mind, what is your name (not, fruitful dark! ) lol
        I can always start to abbrev. to FD though 🙂 cheers, Debi


  1. I love the value contrasts. This seems like a very new motif for you. When you say that now you like the close values of the source photo, first thing I think (just because it’s the way I work) is “super” because there’s an idea for another painting. Same motif, two different ways of thinking about it (so far) …. It’s how you can explore different visual possibilities. Beautiful painting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Aletha! Yes, this is a very new motif because it is just a plain attempt at realism without romantisizing the image too much, or making up elements to aid the emotional element.
      Yes, certainly there is potential to give this another go in a different key. So much to paint, so little time!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh what I would have fun plein air painting in country like that! the lighting and over-all feeling is wonderful. I have several favorite spots in your painting especially the foreground with the glistening water and the underpainting showing through and then the mountains and sky. Your underpainting alone is beautiful all to itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Margaret. New Zealand is so beautiful – it can be a challenge to paint. We are very fortunate to be surrounded still be some undeveloped land with a mountain nearby. Thanks again for your kind comments.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks FR. That is quite interesting to hear – what you say about the warming filter. The photo seems very blueish to me now. When I paint on such a warm underpainting I just cannot resist letting some of it shine through. Glad you liked it!

      Liked by 2 people

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