Monday, September 20, 2010


Tin Roofs

Oil on board, 6" x 11.5"
$250 plus $10 shipping in U.S.
Click image to enlarge.
SOLD


Winslow (my dog) and I took a drive the other day, rambling into Baker County. It's a sparsely populated region--sweeping vistas across miles of rolling, sage-covered hills. Now and again we passed humble ranch buildings like these, many of them long abandoned.

On one of the lonesome back roads I pulled over so we could stretch our legs. It was so quiet I could hear my eyes blink. Surely no one was within miles of us, but in minutes an old pickup materialized in the distance and slowly rolled past, the driver eyeing us warily. About a half-mile beyond he turned around and came back, idling to a stop and rolling down his window.

"That your truck back there?" the rancher said, pushing back his battered hat. I acknowledged it was. "You broke down, or ?...," the unfinished sentence politely but firmly suggesting I explain myself. "No just walking my dog," I replied. "Well OK...thought I'd check...you just never know...have a nice day," he said, and drove off.

I've had this kind of experience many times over the years. Though country people may be few and far between, little escapes their notice. Years ago some people from a large city bought one of the remote ranches near here and started a large-scale marijuana growing operation, complete with long rows of hothouse lights inside a large barn. They must have felt pretty secure way out here in the middle of nowhere--who would ever see them?

They were busted in less than a month.

16 comments:

rahina q.h. said...

beautiful composition and light and i love your handling of the paint from foreground to background. the story sounds like something i would watch on a creepy movie and i felt scared for you and Winslow even though i know you must have got back safe to put this post up:)

Pierre Raby said...

Wonderful painting Don with its panoramic view and the subtle variations on tonals, great work!

Susan Roux said...

Just because country people live a slower life, it doesn't mean their slow...

Lovely painting. I like the sage color and the rolling distance.

Marilyn said...

If I could walk right into your painting. What incredible depth, just beautiful.
You're so right about the ranchers, and farmers for that matter. Talk about living in the present, they're such watchful guardians of their land and forecasters of the weather. Growing up, my grandmother had a far better record at foretelling the chances of rain than the local meteorologist.

Don Gray said...

Hi Rahina--thanks for your kind comments and your concern over our welfare, though I didn't mean for the story to sound threatening. The landowners are usually friendly and accomodating as soon as they discover I'm a harmless eccentric.

Sheila Vaughan said...

I like this Don - it reminds me of Africa!

Don Gray said...

Hi Pierre--thanks, my friend.

Don Gray said...

That's for sure, Susan--thanks.

Don Gray said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Marilyn. And thanks for the kind words about the painting.

Don Gray said...

Africa! That's exciting to me, Sheila--makes me see my familiar haunts in new ways--thanks!

shirley fachilla said...

Lovely use of mid-tones to create mood and distance.
In Tennessee, the scenario would have been much the same. But on the second trip, the driver might have brought his wife along before starting a conversation with an unknown female!

Martyn Chamberlin said...

Wow served them right. I like it when you share these little stories like this. ;)

Martyn Chamberlin said...

Oh and I meant to add, I love your aerial perspective here. Painting in the country (or even stretching your legs!) is quite an experience. I enjoy the local folks and atmosphere whenever I'm out painting. They can sure be interesting.

Don Gray said...

Thanks, Shirley. Yes, that same scenario you describe would likely happen here, too.

Don Gray said...

Hi Martyn--thanks for your comments. Thanks also for your interview with the Daily Paintworks group.

Anonymous said...

The colors in this one are so evocative of Eastern Oregon--the sage greens, the faded golds, the lavender-tinged browns. Love the sweeping distance and the overall composition.
Anne Thrower