Friday, December 26, 2014

Making Peace With Winter

I have to admit, this is not my favorite time of year.  I'm not talking about the holidays, (though the commercial hype does get tiring) no, I'm talking about winter.  So, what does a landscape painter do that doesn't like winter, hibernate in the studio?  I confess that's largely been my strategy in the past but what does that say about a landscape painter that does his best to ignore a whole season?  I decided I need to work on my attitude and get outside more during the winter months. I choose today to get started, a day where the high temperature stayed below freezing. At least it was somewhat sunny and only a little breezy.  It was too cold to take out the acrylics so I just went for a walk with a pencil and a sketchbook in Murray Park.  The forecast shows nothing but freezing weather for the next week so maybe I'll take out the pastels one of those days.   Today was more about going for a walk to acclimate myself to the weather but I did manage to get a couple quick sketches in.

art sketch plein air pencil graphite tree trunk winter

We had a couple inches of snow yesterday, the first storm that actually has been sticking this season, some of that was still clinging to the tree branches.  I took a little detour to the upper soccer fields and sketched this tree;

art sketch plein air winter nature tree pencil graphite

Some of you who follow this blog may recognize this tree.  I've done both a field pastel sketch and an oil painting of this tree neither of which really satisfied me, I think maybe this quick little pencil sketch captures it's character a little better.  Visiting this tree was a bit like visiting an old friend.

I took my camera as well of course, here is one of the photos I snapped.  Maybe I'll eventually develop a Murray Park series of paintings.

photograph winter Murray Park Utah creek snow

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Painting in Tooele Valley

I'm just getting around to posting about my last plein air outing which was the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  I wasn't sure I wanted to go out, it was a gloomy, windy day.  After running a couple errands I decided I might as well go out, at least it wasn't real cold and if painting proved to be too problematic I could at least get some reference photos.  My initial plan was to go up in the canyon, I figured I might get some fresh snow photos and maybe a painting, however as I headed towards the freeway I noticed there was plenty of blue sky northwest of the valley so I turned right instead of left. After spending some time exploring near the Great Salt Lake Marina and the East end of the Tooele Valley, the next valley over from the Salt Lake Valley I headed west over to the town of Grantsville.  I took a road going North off Main street and ended up at this field that appeared to be public land of some sort, I drove down a short road, turned round and saw the view I decided to paint.  I had quite a battle with the wind but it was worth it.

art painting plein air acrylic autumn Tooele valley


"Windy Autumn"

8" X 10", Acrylic on panel
Original - SOLD

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Sketchy Black Friday

I've never been one for hunting for Christmas time bargains, in fact for a very long time I've felt the holiday has been way too over-commercialized and it only gets worse every year.  For me the Friday after Thanksgiving is another day off work, (now that's something to be thankful for. <G>).  We have been blessed with milder than normal weather for this time in November which allowed me to get out and do some sketching. I headed to one of my top five favorite sketching spots, Wheeler Farm, a historic farm owned and run by Salt Lake County.  I knew they had liberated the old Dodge truck from the garage and placed it out in the garden so of course I sketched that first.

art sketch pencil graphie plein air Dodge truck vintage

"Derelict Dodge"

I kept it simple, just graphite pencil in my 9x12 bristol smooth sketchbook.  After a break for some lunch I walked over to the antique machinery building planning on sketching the John Deere they always have on display outside.  I was surprised and excited to see they now have another tractor on display outside of the building, a Moline I believe, so I sketched that one instead, this time in pen and watercolor.
art sketch plein air vintage tractor watercolor pen

"By the Barn"

There was a lot more foot traffic in the area where this tractor was parked so I got a lot more attention, in fact I gave out more business cards in one sitting than I ever have before.  One person even said he thinks he likes the sketch more than the real thing. I think that is the best compliment an artist can receive, thank you kind sir!  One boy even asked if this particular sketch was for sale, I had to tell him no, not yet for a couple reasons I won't go into here.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wild Autumn

I finally finished up a painting I started some time ago, just made some final adjustments today.

art painting landscape acrylic autumn fall foliage nature

"Wild Autumn"

12" X 16", Acrylic on panel
Original - SOLD

This painting is based on a photo I took in the Heber Valley near the Provo River. I started this one with my new process of doing a palette knife under painting.  Here is how it looked after the palette step.

art painting landscape wip acrylic palette knife autumn

Using a palette knife imparts a lot texture because you are working with thick paint which forces even the brush layers after to be more loose because the brush skips over the texture.  Overall I enjoy this new process as well as the results so I'll probably continue experimenting with it.  This is one of the things I love about acrylics, they allow for so much more freedom for experimentation. Lean over fat?  No problem for acrylics.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Mini's, also known as ATC's (Artist Trading Cards) or ACEO's (Art Cards Originals and Editions) measure 2.5" X 3.5" or a little bigger than the standard size business card.  I've known about these for years but have never painted any.  I follow the blog of Karen Margulis, a very prolific landscape pastel painter.  Karen had "Mini Week" on her blog last week and it inspired me to try a few, but in acrylic. I may do some pastel mini's later.  I picked up some mini canvas boards at the craft store and went to work.  I painted all five of these in one session.

art painting miniature autumn landscape road rural

art painting landscape autumn tree fall foliage miniature

art painting landscape hay bale mini acrylic

art painting mini road rural countryside farm ranch

art painting barn miniature rural farm ranch acrylic

This was a lot of fun so I'm sure I'll do more.  Besides being fun, painting mini's is a useful exercise.  In a relatively short time you get plenty of practice and test a few compositions and execute a few color studies, very productive! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Autumn Trip

Yesterday I took the whole day and drove a long, semi-planned loop to go see what the fall colors where looking like at the higher elevations plus I managed to work in a plein air painting.  I started by going up Parley's canyon up to Wasatch County then a couple back roads to Summit County and the small town of Peoa.  After spending some time exploring Peoa I headed East to Oakley and did some exploring there.  Even at the 6500 ft elevation of Oakley the colors are far from peak so I headed up the Mirror Lake highway into the High Uintas and ate my lunch by the Upper Provo River.  Then I drove over the Soapstone Pass into the Soapstone basin where I did this 10" x 8" acrylic painting;

art painting landscape plein air acrylic nature mountain autumn

"Fresh Autumn Air"

8" X 10", Acrylic on panel

I was set up at cross roads of sorts, (The Soapstone Pass is a dirt road.) so I had a lot of traffic from the hunters driving their ATVs around and other people like me out enjoying the fresh mountain air and fall colors.  While the noise and dust were annoying at times I did enjoy meeting a few people that were interested enough in what I was doing to stop and take a look, in particular I met fellow artist Sue and her husband Rex from Tabiona, I now have a standing invitation to go paint with her on her property by the Duschene river. If anything at this elevation the colors where a bit past peak so I headed on over the other side of the pass to highway 35 also known as Wolf Creek Pass and dropped down to the town of Francis.  After some exploring in Francis I dropped further down to the town of Midway in the heart of the Heber Valley. I decided I didn't want to take the freeway back home so I drove up a little known road to Guardsman's Pass at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains.  I said little known but there were enough people that knew about it that the traffic was kinda nutty for a remote mountain pass, (very slow, curvy and steep, 15-20 mph), I guess everybody else had the same idea.  There was a section of the road lined with photographers!  Once in Big Cottonwood Canyon I went up to Brighton and went for a walk around Silver Lake, again everybody else had the same idea!  The pathway was quite crowded but it was worth it, the color was great even if a bit past peak.  From there it was just a drive down the canyon and short bit on the freeway to home.  It was a long, tiring day but a lot of fun.  Here are a couple photos from my travels.

The road in Soapstone Basin

The river bluffs viewed from Fancis

"Autumn on Silver Lake"

Monday, September 8, 2014

Autumn Chevy

The summer season is practically over and the autumn season is starting.  The colors are already starting to change at the higher elevations so to get ready I painted an autumn landscape, this time with an old pickup in it.

art painting abandoned truck Chevy autumn landscape

"Autumn Chevy"

5" X 7", Acrylic on panel
Original - SOLD

The painting is based on a reference photo and my imagination.  The truck comes from a photo I took of a pickup sitting in the gravel and weeds next to a residential driveway.  The landscape is totally out of my imagination including the color scheme.  The truck in the photo was actually painted orange.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Getting More Natural

It occurred to me in the middle of making my latest painting that the palette of colors I've been using this year had shifted the colors in my paintings to be very bright and saturated, especially the greens.  While generally speaking there is nothing wrong with bright, saturated colors I don't really think that's my style, at least it hadn't been until this year. I think maybe I really prefer a more natural look so I decided to return to a more limited palette that is just three primaries plus two earth colors and white, this is the result;

art painting landscape road rural acrylic tree

"The Road"

6" X 8", Acrylic on panel
Original - $60

Colors in nature tend to be less saturated, except for flowers of course.  I think the colors and tones in this painting are more accurate than most of my latest paintings have been.  I also think the less saturated colors result in a calmer feeling which I think suits the subject well. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Back to the Land

This week I'm back to painting the landscape.

art painting landscape acrylic ditch trail outdoors

"The Path by the Ditch"

12" X 9", Acrylic on panel
Original - SOLD

This painting is based on a photo I took during my sketching trip at the Middle Provo River near Heber City, Utah that I blogged about a couple weeks ago.  I had to walk this path to get to another part of the river where I made the sketch of the cottonwood trees.  I was struck by the idea of having two clear lead-ins into the painting, one land and one water.

Monday, July 28, 2014

More Rural Goodness

I just love exploring the back roads in the rural areas, I always find something interesting.  My latest painting is based on a photo that resulted from one of those days of exploration.

"The Old Road to the Old Shed"

10" X 8", Acrylic on panel
Original - SOLD

I found the inspiration for this painting on a piece of the Historic Old Lincoln Highway on the outskirts of Wanship, Utah.  The photo gave me the general idea but I had to make many modifications to make it a good painting.  The actual shed was metal, not wood and didn't have the opening in front.  There was also a lot of uninteresting clutter in front of the shed, the actual fence wasn't very interesting either.  There wasn't an actual road in the scene but rather the edge of a gravel parking area that gave me the idea to put a road in.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Vacation Sketch Day

Yesterday was a state holiday in Utah so I decided to make a long weekend of it and take a vacation day today.  I made sure to get all the "must do" items on the to-do list done yesterday so I could spend my time however I pleased for the rest of the weekend.  Today I chose to travel to the Heber Valley which is about a 50 min. drive East and South of the Salt Lake Valley.  My first stop was one of my favorite places, the Middle Provo River.  I parked at a fisherman access area that I'd never explored before.  Apparently quite a few fisherman had the idea to take a vacation day today as well, the parking lot was almost full even though I got there about 9:00 am.  I started by sketching the river itself at a spot close to the trailhead;

art sketch plein air provo river pen wateroclor

Luckily a fisherman wandered into view and cast his line while I was still doing the pen drawing so I could add him for scale, though I think I made him a tad large.

Next I really wanted to sketch a cottonwood tree, we don't have many of those in the Salt Lake area.  It took a bit of searching to find one in a good position for me to sketch even though the river is lined with them;

art sketch plein air tree nature pen watercolor

By now it was nearly noon and even though the Heber Valley is at a higher elevation than the Salt Lake Valley it's not any cooler during the summer so I went into town and sat at a picnic table in the shade and sketched part of the St Lawrence Catholic Church;

art sketch plein air church catholic pen watercolor

I almost didn't post this sketch because there are so many errors in it, but the reason I sketch isn't to create a masterpiece.  Sketching from life is all about improving your observation and drawing skills.

Here are a couple photos I took during today's activities;

photograph nature provo river summer water trees

The middle Provo River

photograph path tree trail nature outdoors provo river

The main path along side the river.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Another Sketch Day

I meant to get out with the paints this weekend but my schedule and the weather wouldn't cooperate with each other.  I traveled to another town on Saturday meaning to do some sketching but even by 10:00 am it was incredibly hot.  So after making a round at the car show I just went exploring by car and with camera in a rural area.  Today, Sunday I intended to take the paints out first thing in the morning to avoid the heat, but the sky was gray and cloudy, not very motivating.  The weather seemed to have improved in the afternoon and having only a couple hours I decided to take the sketching materials instead of the paints, besides I didn't know how hot it was, acrylics don't handle well above 80*F let alone above 90*. I decided to head out to a pond that's near where I often sketch and paint at the Jordan River Parkway but I never knew was there until I discovered it while exploring the area on Google Maps.  I started by doing this sketch of a willow tree in the middle of a little peninsula;

art sketch life pen watercolor pond water tree park

I altered the scene a bit.  The peninsula was actually bigger and had no reeds, also the background was houses.  I was interrupted by a bit of a rain storm, I swear I don't remember seeing rain in the forecast. There were a lot of geese by the pond so I decided to take advantage and fill a page with quick pen goose gesture studies;

art sketch life pen geese goose bird wildlife

Then I headed over to the Parkway which is essentially just across the street from the park this pond is in to seek out another tree to sketch and found this one;

art sketch plein air pen watercolor tree fence park

I took some liberties with this scene as well.  The fence that was actually there was made from lumber and was much more straight.  The background field is actually a road and a house beyond that.  One thing I learned while doing this sketch is that this tree, being dome shaped got lighter as you got closer to the top, that's not true of all trees since most of them still have portions that are largely vertical even near the top.  Just as I finished this sketch the rain clouds made another appearance, I just escaped getting soaked again.  I think both of these tree sketches have potential as paintings.

I used to often share photos in this blog and realized that I haven't done that in a while so here are some photos I took today of some of our fair feathered friends..

A goose strutting proudly next to the pond;

A mother duck and her ducklings;

A quail trying to stay out of sight;

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sketch Day

It's been a while since I did one of these, a day of travel and sketching.  I forgot how fun and useful getting out to a new place to explore and sketch can be.  I was planning on attending a car show in Coalville, a small, historic rural town about 40 miles East of Salt Lake City on I-80.  The festivities weren't starting until the afternoon so I  decided to make a day of it and do some sketching along the way in the morning while it was still cool.  I've spent quite a bit of time in the rural towns along I-80 but there's always some road or area I haven't explored so whenever I return to an area I look at Google Maps and figure out what areas I can visit that I've never been to before.  I decided to get off the freeway at Wanship and take Hoytsville Rd to Coalville while exploring the side roads along the way, including a piece of the old Lincoln Highway.  I don't know why but I love rural areas so I took a lot of photos, but more importantly I did some sketching;

art sketch pen watercolor Coalville Utah river nature

This is the Weber River just outside of Wanship.  As you can see I used pen and watercolor.  You might also deduce that I'm not really a watercolorist, I tend to use similar techniques as I use when painting with acrylics. For me sketching isn't about creating a finished piece worth bragging about, it's about practice and learning about the subject. Sketching is also very fun and usually very relaxing, almost meditative. I think I learn as much about the subject by making a sketch like this as I would if I attempted to make a plein air painting on location and it took about 1/3 as much time or less.  Sketching also requires much less equipment and is much less hassle.  I still think painting outdoors is worth doing but sketching is a less stressful and useful alternative.

art sketch pen watercolor coalville utah farm barn ranch

I really wanted to sketch a farm, barn or shed or something along those lines but most every scene I found wasn't convenient for parking and setting up to sketch.  I finally settled on this sheep ranch in Coalville.  Not exactly an ideal subject but the cobbled together structures made for some interest, this could make a good background for a tractor painting.

art sketch pen watercolor car Chevy sedan coalville Utah

And finally the car show.  Coalville shuts down Main street for this event and the cars park backed to the curb and facing to the center of the street.  This arrangement makes for good spectating but not good sketching since I'd have to sit right in the middle of spectator traffic to get good views of the cars for sketching.  Luckily just as I was getting ready to leave this car, a late 40's Chevy sedan parked at the end of the line and not only is it the kind of car I enjoy sketching it parked in a spot that gave it the perfect background, the historic Summit County Courthouse, they were even color coordinated.  Luckily I also able to sketch this from a shady spot. An artist can't ask for anything more.

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dreaming of Autumn

Summer has just started and the temperatures are starting to soar so I decided to cool off a bit by painting an autumn scene;

art painting autumn fall foliage color nature aspen

"Dreaming of Autumn"

8" X 6", Acrylic on Panel
Original - $60

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anxious for autumn to start, (yet) but this was a nice break from the spring/summer color palette.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hiker's Delight

I just finished another small studio painting, this one based on a photo I took while hiking in the Wasatch Mountains in Northern Utah, Big Cottonwood Canyon to be more exact.  I love the trails we have that fall the run off creeks somewhat closely because I really enjoy encountering scenes like this one, hence the title.

art painting acrylic water creek stream mountain nature

"Hiker's Delight"

8" X 10", Acrylic on panel
Original - $100

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Little Ditch

Since I endured the heat to make the last painting I figured I'd make one in the cool comfort of the studio.  This painting is based on a photo I took last year while exploring one of Utah's most Northern cities, Smithfield.  I was driving around on the outskirts of town when I caught a glimpse of a reflection of the sky from the corner of my eye.  I pulled over and walked over to see what it was.  This ditch was almost hidden from the seated position in the car but standing next to the fence this neat little scene was revealed;

art painting acrylic rural ditch farm ranch Utah

"Little Ditch"

10" X 8", Acrylic on panel
Original - $100

I really liked the abstract shapes created by the ditch in the foreground and the big bush in the mid ground.  I knew I'd paint this some day!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

First Day of Summer

I celebrated the first day of summer by getting out and painting outdoors.  I didn't get out until the afternoon and it was a bit windy and quite warm but I decided I had to take the paint outside, it's been too long.  I visited one of my favorite areas on the Jordan River Parkway and painted the river.

art painting plein air acrylic jordan river parkway

"A Bend in the River"

Acrylic, 11" X 14"

With all the sketching and painting on the Jordan River Parkway I've done this is the first time I've painted the river itself.  I spent over three hours on this painting which is the most I've ever spent on a plein air painting.  That's one advantage to painting at the height of the day, the shadows don't change as when the sun is nearly directly above.  Still, I couldn't have painted much longer, by the time I finished up the afternoon was turning into evening and the sun was getting lower and into the west.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Best Laid Plans.......

I went to Wheeler Farm today with my sketching backpack planning on doing a largish, detailed pencil sketch or two.  I realized just as I went to unzip my backpack that I had left my pencil case at home, still sitting on my drawing table.  Then I remembered I keep a couple pens and a mechanical pencil in my car so I went to retrieve them.  Turns out the lead was jammed in the tip of the mechanical pencil and I had no way to get it out, so I resigned myself to pen sketching.  I went to start with the .03 pen and the tip was damaged, no ink would come out.  All that was left was the .1 pen, luckily it worked and worked well, unfortunately I can't be very subtle with the larger tip but I made do.

art sketch pen wheeler farm shed barn cow

The first sketch was at the west end of the farm, a spot kind of by itself that doesn't get much attention.  The cow looked content to be lying there so I took advantage and sketched it in first.  The thing about the scene that intrigued me most was how the shed was practically being engulfed in foliage, in particular the Russian olive tree that was making its way across the roof.  I think this might make a good painting.

art sketch life horse wheeler farm trough tree

For the second sketch I got a little more brave and tried to sketch horses eating at the trough. Unfortunately the one on the right left before I good get any shading on him, so he's just a ghosted outline.  The tree wasn't actually right there, it was quite a ways farther to the right but since I couldn't finish the horse I figured I might as well put something else in there.

art sketch pen life cow cattle wheeler farm

Obviously I'm not showing this sketch because I think it's good, it most definitely is not, but it was a useful exercise.  I plan on eventually putting animals into my paintings so I figured I ought to get more experience sketching them from life.  I really admire artists that somehow can make great sketches or even paintings of animals from life, even cows move more than I can handle!  This group of cows in particular was feeling playful today, often pushing and bumping into each other.  I just tried to fit as many quick gesture sketches on one page in the sketchbook as I could.

art sketch life pen truck Dodge garage wheeler farm

Now this is more my speed.  Wheeler Farm has a 100 year old, restored garage in which they keep an old Dodge truck. Unfortunately much of it is blocked off from view by a partition on the lower half of the garage opening, and the rest has a screen over it.  Not much light makes it into there but I decided to sketch what I could.  It didn't occur to me that the garage was something they locked up when they shut the place down for the day.  Luckily I was close to finishing when one of the employees came over to lock up, he saw that I was drawing though and let me finish first while he went to other buildings to lock up.  Thanks, whoever you are!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Red Rocks and Scrub Oak

I spent last night up on the East Bench of the Salt Lake Valley at the base of Mount Olympus.  I've been itching to get up in this area for some time since I know there had to be some good compositions here involving reddish rocks and scrub oak which together make for a great color contrast. I hiked a little way up the very steep Mount Olympus trail but once I got to the big rock I turned North on a flat but narrow trail.  It wasn't long before I found my first painting;

art painting plein air pastel red rock nature

"Evening on the Bench"

8" X 10", Pastel on mounted paper
Original - $100

Since I was hiking I didn't take my easel.  I just took a regular size backpack with a folding stool, my pastel box, boards and other incidentals. For this painting I sat on a rock and set the pastel box on the stool while I held the board in the pastel box lid, simple and it works.

I hiked back up the level trail to the big rock and just sat on the ground in the shade of the big rock and painted this;

art painting plein air pastel red rock scrub oak

"Red Rock and Scrub Oak"

5" X 7", Pastel on mounted paper
Original - $50

Who needs expensive, fancy equipment to make a nice, small painting outdoors?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Skin and Bones

This unusual car, or what's left of it is sitting in a lot behind the mining museum in Eureka, Utah along with other rusty remnants of Eureka's mining past.  Luckily someone had written on the cowl what the make is.  I'm a car guy but I don't believe I'd ever heard of a Mitchell, I would have never figured that out on my own!  The year of manufacture is 1918.

art painting car Mitchell abandoned junk rust

"Skin and Bones"

6" X 8", Acrylic on panel
Original - SOLD

Friday, May 16, 2014

Lookin' Back

Another rusty truck painting, at least this isn't a Ford Motor Co. product but rather a 1937 Chevy.  The painting is based on a photo I took at a small local collection that's on public display.

art painting truck abandoned old rust Chevy flatbed

"Lookin' Back"

 5" X 7", Acrylic on panel
Original - SOLD

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Gray Day on the Parkway

Apparently I've been the victim of a Blogspot glitch.  I posted a long post yesterday about plein air painting at the Jordan River Parkway on Saturday but it's disappeared, so now you get a shortened version, I  just don't feel like typing that whole post again.

art painting pastel plein air landscape nature Jordan River Parkway

"One Fine Spring Day Study"

8" x 10", Pastel on mounted paper
Original - $100

It was raining off and on the whole morning and into the afternoon but then I noticed an apparent window in the weather open mid afternoon and decided to chance it and quickly packed everything up and headed out to the Parkway.  I was feeling the urge to get dusty so I took my pastels.  The light was kind of odd since there was enough light from the right to give form to the trees and cast shadows but the sky was very light and gray in the background.  Just as I was packing up the wind picked up and the sky behind me got very dark, I timed my little excursion just perfect.  Here's a shot of the setup I used that day;

art painting pastel plein air gear easel box

If you have any questions about my setup leave a comment and ask there.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Layin' Up Hay

Another small rural scene for today;

art painting acrylic landscape rural barn hay farm

"Layin' Up Hay

5" X 7", Acrylic on panel
Original - SOLD

I don't know what attracts me to these rural scenes. I really enjoy exploring the back roads of the state looking for old sheds, barns and farm scenes.  However, I really don't have much personal connection to farming.  My grandfather on my Mom's side did have what was essentially a small farm with a very large garden and a corral that he kept everything from sheep to bulls in and of course he had a couple small out buildings to store hay and tools in, it was basically a micro farm but it wasn't his livelihood.  I did spend quite a bit of time at my grandparents house, most of my life I lived close by, even within walking distance for the first 11 years of my life, however as a kid the farming stuff didn't really attract me so I have to confess I didn't get my hands dirty much on my grandparents farm.  I also had a great aunt and uncle on my Dad's side that had a real working farm in a small town just 20 minutes from where I live now.  Up into my late teens my Dad would pick up my brother and I at least once a year for a trip to Aunt Louis' and Uncle Harry's. Their house was very old, I suspect dating back to the 1930's or earlier.  They'd give my brother and I toys to play with, cast iron and pressed steel toys from the 50's, none of that plastic crap! These were real "salt of the earth" people from the "Greatest Generation, (as was my Grandfather).  Of course as a kid I didn't really appreciate the experience, in fact I often dreaded the visit and don't recall ever going out behind the house to see the farm.  I regret having that attitude, I'm sure I missed having some special experiences the memories of which I'd cherish now.  Maybe I'm attracted to these scenes due to that regret, trying to capture what I didn't take advantage of in my youth.