"The James Homestead"
©2012, 20" by 16", Watercolour
This painting is a very personal one for me, as it's of the farm that my father grew up on.
The James Homestead is in the Lanark area of Ontario, and was in the James family from 1883 to 1959. Although it's no longer in the family, it still holds a sentimental place in the hearts of many family members.
The intent was to paint the farm as it appeared in the 1950's so, to do this, I worked from a number of photographs, some old, and some much more recent. This painting borrows most heavily from a picture taken in the mid-80's that shows all of the buildings and out-buildings that make up the farm. What really drew me to this picture were a pair of wagon tracks leading through the field towards the farmhouse, as well as the hint of a fence in the foreground (although I couldn't quite figure out how it was the path lead right through the fence without a gate).
I asked my father about it. He remembers the path as being the one that they used to pull the wagon along to get to the back fields. He said that there might have been a wooden gate there originally, but it was also possible that the wire was simply rolled back to pass through. This is the only real artistic license I took with the painting. I decided that I wanted to put a wooden gate in the foreground to give the painting some real depth, and I found the answer I needed in an old photograph from 1957, that shows part of the barn, with the farmhouse and garage (in its original position) on the hill. There's a lot of tiny little details of interest in this black and white image (like the laundry stand beside the garage that my Grandmother would use, or the ladder on the side of the barn that my Grandfather would climb to get on top of a load of hay before it was hoisted up into the loft), but the one that caught my eye was the open wooden gate to the right of the barn. This was the proof that I needed that there was at least one wooden gate in use on the farm in the 50's - surely I could get away with putting another one so prominently in my painting?
The young boy running up the road was a last minute addition to the painting. When I had about half of the field completed, the idea to add the figure occurred to me and, with a lot of help from my brother and some old family pictures that he sent me, I was able to dress the boy exactly as my father would have been dressed in the era. The boy gives a human element to the painting, and now whenever I see him, I can't help but imagine that somebody at the house is ringing the dinner bell calling my father home.
The James Homestead
Reproductions of my art are available printed either on paper or canvas. Both formats are signed by me, the artist, and are high quality, full-colour prints of a high resolution scan or photograph of the original painting. All prints are inspected to ensure that the colours match the source and created using inks that are guaranteed to resist both fading and UV light.
These are printed on high quality paper to give them the look and feel of the original painting. In terms of the dimensions listed, please keep in mind that they are approximate. Since I custom mat and frame the prints myself, I reproduce them at specific sizes so that when they are matted to standard matting dimensions, the mat-board borders are consistent widths on all sides. It’s because of this that I highly recommend that you upgrade to the matted version (seriously, go do it now).
Now, if you've ordered a print that is not a standard sized when matted, then I highly recommend that you go back and order it in a frame. As described in the sister section Frames, I do all my own framing using reclaimed wood and am affordable.
If you want to avoid matting and framing altogether, then I suggest that you order the canvas option. I stretch the canvases myself using reclaimed wood and, with a profile that is an inch and a half thick, the art will make a strong statement on your wall.