Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Down on the Farm

Let's have a little fun and do a value experiment today.  I wanted to take a fairly simple subject, reduce it to four values, assign color to the values, and go from there.

Wading through the massive photo collection on my hard drive, I unearthed some photos that brought back fond memories.

When I fledged from the parental nest at 18, my first rented domicile was this farmhouse. The house, barns, other various buildings, and the surrounding 55 acres belonged to a friend's parents, who had retired from the farming life.  Although it appears to be in a bucolic rural setting, this farm was the last tract of open land in a busy, sprawling suburban setting.  It was bordered on the east by a six-lane expressway, on the south by an apartment complex, on the north by a strip mall, and on the west by neighborhoods of cookie-cutter suburban housing.  Not wanting to see their former home plowed under by development, my friends parents chose to rent the house and lease the land, while spending their golden years in a smaller, more comfortable, and less drafty abode that required much less upkeep and maintenance.

Although a bit run down, the house was gorgeous.  It boasted the large country kitchen of houses of the era, beautiful, hand-crafted wood trim and floors, and an incredible panel of stained glass that topped the living room window.  (It was also haunted by the benevolent spirit of Aunt Marge, but that is a story for a later post).  It was so large that I didn't need to make use of any of the five upstairs bedrooms, having more than enough room to comfortably live on the main floor.

I resided here for almost three years, loving the house and the space, exploring the remnants of farming life that were stored in the barns, and throwing spectacular Halloween parties.  I probably would have lived there much longer, but in those years both of my friend's parents passed away, and the family chose to sell the land.  The photo above was one of the last ones taken of the house before the bulldozers arrived.  The area now boasts 55 acres of townhomes.  Ain't progress grand?  To this day, I carry a soft spot in my heart for old farm houses.

I chose a photo of the south face of the house, taken on that last day.  (The photos are black and white because I was taking a photography class at the time, and we were learning to develop b&w film.)

Then I ran it through Photoshop, reducing it to four values.

Next, I resurrected my set of colored pencils, figuring it would be easier pick ready-made colors.  I matched four of my warm greys to the greys of the value photo, and laid a thick line of each down on the paper.  Then patches of selected colors were placed next to the lines to determine the value of each color.  Two versions of the house were tried, one more of a warm-dominant, the other a cool-dominant. 

Obviously modulating intensity wasn't a concern; just putting mostly pure color down based on it's value.  A fun and intriguing first experiment, but I think I need to find an even simpler subject that has less of an emotional connection.  Like maybe a tree.  In a field.  By itself. 'Nuff said.


Karla said...

Just love following along on all of your adventures!

Lisa Daria said...

I love this idea - what thoughtful, successful color experiments - thank you for sharing and I enjoyed the writing about the farm - it's a beautiful building. Oh and I like how you cropped into it too -

Lisa Walsh said...

Hi Karla, hope I'm able to put a smile on your face.

Thanks for your kind comments, Lisa. It's fun to reminisce once in a while, but too much of it reminds me I'm getting old!

debwardart said...

Super idea - and loved the story; it is sad to see so many of the old places replaced. Looking forward to seeing that lonely tree!

Pat said...

Fascinating history to the old house and great to see you experiment!
So glad I came across your lovely blog ! xx

Ricardo said...

Hi I congrutulate you on your paiting,I really like mixing colors to the end, it is this wonder many congratutations.