Arkansas Farm depicts what was my grandparent’s farm on the outskirts of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. It is a continuation of a large and multi-decade body of work of paintings and photography about the farm. Watch the video for more about that.
This painting is a 2’ by 3’ acrylic painting on a cradled wooden panel. From the beginning I wanted to utilize the hard surface in ways that canvas doesn’t allow. Using only palette knifes and wire brushes to paint with, I alternated between flat, creamy smooth paint under the palette knife to forcefully hitting the canvas with the wire brush. I also used marble dust for texture and chalk and oil pastels for highlights.
I wanted to paint the land itself, not the crops. The uniform greens and yellows of the crops give way after harvest to every shade of beige and the texture of the land itself. This dirt road had its own character as well. Parts of it would never change and others area would shift as the tractors came in and out of the fields.
My grandfather could remember when all of this land had been covered with trees. Long before it was farmland Native Americans hunted on this land. My grandfather picked up hundreds of arrowheads over the years. He would see them while riding his tractor and stop to pick them up. This area was likely a hunting ground because the trees in the background line the Cache River, but there is also a story that a battle had been fought here.