I visited this family retreat in Georgian Bay on my brother-in-laws boat. Private and peaceful, this location meant much to the Toronto-based owners. It is not surprising that they wanted a painting from their much loved cottage. This family owns a large collection of my work that goes back over twenty-five years.
Wouldnt we all wish to own a century-old stone house that was situated on a farm with a tree-lined lane? The people who commissioned this painting actually do. These people purchased several paintings from me years ago and felt now they wanted an original painting of their own place. Also on their list of details to include were Hereford cattle (he is a gentleman farmer), as well as their own horses and their dog, a Dalmatian named JC. It is such a pleasure to create this personalized historic painting after visiting with them.
This commissioned painting tells the story of a farm family. A usual Sunday afternoon included a stop at the fields to do a progress report on their cattle. This painting is rather complex because of the inclusion of so many pieces of nostalgia, in addition to the family itself. Clearly this piece, which is very popular, speaks directly to people who were brought up on a farm.
Set in the Needles area of North Dakota, the throb of the motorcycles echoes against the stone pillars. The exhilaration felt by these vacationers is evident as they experience the freedom felt by many Harley riders.
I am not a snob when it comes to subjects for paintings. I am interested in the human experience. An English art dealer said that my work is contemporary genre. I was intrigued when I was approached to do this six-person portrait, and perhaps I should say three-motorcycle portrait, of a trip these people took on their Harleys. I thought it a challenging subject and one that is very interesting given my experiences in Sturgis in 2002. I hope I conveyed the fun and excitement of the riders as well as my own.
This most interesting project sprang from a photo in a farm magazine. The commissioner of this work was so intrigued that he contacted the people involved on the Alberta/Saskatchewan border and obtained many more photographs, after he actually travelled west to meet them. Custom paintings such as this present a challenge and I enjoy them immensely as I work with people to develop an idea.