|© 2016 Robin Edmundson, Clearing the fencerows, burning the bales, watercolor, 9x12|
I've been painting these bales for a while. Here's a previous version. I think this one is an improvement.
I like working on this series for a lot of reasons. They are limited palette studies - this version is Indigo, Raw Umber and Quin Burnt Orange. The scene is really atmospheric, which is always a challenge. The bales are quintessentially rural and I love painting rural. These studies always stop people in their tracks, because ... What's going on here?
That's a good question. Hay is common, but burning hay? Not so much.
Bales of hay are often set along fence rows and treelines for convenience. They're usually at the edges of a hay field and they're easy enough to set, then retrieve for the cows in the next field through the winter. If they're left more than a year, they start to rot and they're no good for feed, but they make pretty fences.
These bales had been left for years - probably when the property changed hands. A winter or so ago, the new owner decided to clear the line and combine smaller fields into a larger one with better access. We came upon a long line of bales smoking in the snow. It was spectacular to see 50 or so bales smoldering away. It took a few days for them to burn down completely.
I'll be doing a couple more of these. They're fun. Maybe the next one will be a portrait instead of a landscape.