Alabama cotton field, Virginia sky

1 12 2008

While we were vacationing with Sue and her mother in Seattle this past September, Sue requested a commission for a painting to go over her mantel in her Huntsville home. She wanted something related to her new home state and her first thought was a cotton field landscape. A few weeks ago, I came up with some ideas and sent her some sketches via e-mail and this painting was the end result.

The 36×48 painting is done on gallery wrap canvas with acrylic paint. I haven’t painted in a few years, but as soon as I got started, it all came back to me. I don’t have an exact estimate of time, but the painting took less than 10 hours, spread over two days, to complete—although I was still touching it up the morning we left!

With the much-welcomed help of my dad and my friend Debbi, I was able to tweak several things when I got stuck mid-way. Debbi suggested adding more green to the foreground so it would complement the treeline. When I showed the initial digital sketches to my dad, he said, “That can’t be an Alabama cotton field. Where are the rolling hills and trees?” Dad grew up in Mississippi and Alabama and spent some time in cotton fields, so I took his advice and added trees and rolling hills. He also offered suggestions on how to make the foreground blend more with the treeline and sky so it didn’t look like two separate paintings, and to make the furrows not as dark and flat. I am grateful for their suggestions because the changes made for a much more cohesive painting—one that I was proud to present to Sue!

Toward the end, I still wasn’t happy with the lackluster sky and desperately needed a muse. On Friday, while I was out running last minute errands, the Virginia sky became my inspiration—I finished the painting that evening (in between cleaning the house, paying bills, and packing computer equipment, camera gear, and clothes for the trek to Texas the next day!)

After packing the car early Saturday morning, there was just enough room to slide in the oversized painting. It made the 10+ hour trip to Huntsville without incident. After we got back from lunch and shopping Sunday evening, I whipped out a 6×6 gallery wrap miniature painting depicting three cotton buds blossoming (it’s on the little easel to the left of the painting). Now Sue and Steve (and their cats, Matilda (pictured) and Pante (the antisocial boy) have a painting of an Alabama cotton field under a Virginia sky gracing their great room!

Learn how cotton is grown here. Click here and learn about Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin and a pioneer in the mass production of cotton. Learn about the origin of denim, what makes towels absorbent, how the t-shirt got its name, and other interesting cotton-related facts on www.cottoninc.com.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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3 responses

1 12 2008
Pam/Digging

Well, that’s beautiful, Cindy. I knew you were a talented photographer, but I didn’t know you were an artist with a brush too.

2 12 2008
John

Yeah, nice picture… And kitty rocks too 🙂

6 12 2008
sue cummings

To watch Cindy in action when it comes to painting is like watching Monet or Mozart in the process of “creation.” Being in the presence of someone like Cindy who is so incredibly talented in so many areas is breathtaking. Her paintings have given our room a “stunning” look. We are blessed beyond measure by Cindy and feel like she is always in the room with us when we see her work. I still wonder what God has seen worthy in me to bless me with a dear angel friend like her!

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