The Artwork of
Kevin M. Haller
<< Painting Journal 2008
Next >>

Artwork completed for The Great Black Hills Plein Air 2008

Meeker Ranch (alongside Jon Crane)
September 12--2pm
"View From Behind Meeker Ranch (Custer, SD)"
Oil   11x14
Inspiration and Design: View subject
My vantage point for this painting was northeast and slightly up the hill from the Meeker Ranch homestead, site of the event.  The sky was fully overcast with occasional light drizzle.  I chose a location that provided a premium view of the homestead within the Black Hills landscape.  Popular South Dakota artist, Jon Crane, had set up there as well.  It was a thrill to paint next to him.  His artwork can be seen on his website at Jon Crane Watercolors  From my elevated vantage point, the homestead seemed small in size relative to the landscape.  Further, the ranch appeared very ordinary compared to the surrounding fields of gold, forested mountains, and granite peaks.  In South Dakota, the land is clearly bigger than we are.  My primary goal for this painting was to depict a ranch homestead nestled in the splendor of the Black Hills. 
Meeker Ranch Road
September 13--10am
"Meeker Ranch Road, Autumn"
Oil   11x14
Inspiration and Design: View subject
The general location for this painting was the valley running east-west, approximately ½ mile north of the homestead.  An old ranch road meandered along the north edge of the damp valley.  Aspen and birch were frequent along the field edges.  An overnight rain made the landscape very damp, and everything glistened in the morning sunlight.  My primary objective for this painting was to capture the color of autumn on a Black Hills ranch.  Aspen and birch add gold color, and granite outcroppings provide splashes of pink and purple.  I exaggerated the fall foliage color to heighten the sense of autumn. 
Meeker Ranch
September 13--2pm
"Granite Boulders and Pines"
Oil   16x12
Inspiration and Design: View subject
The location for this painting was approximately 40 feet west of the main Meeker Ranch home entrance.  Large granite boulders surround the homestead, and pine trees commonly root in the rock.  My family (Penny, Kay, and Miranda) and I had lunch on these rocks in the shade offered by these trees.  The day started clear, but as afternoon progressed, large puffy white clouds grew more and more prominent.  With each passing hour, the wind blew harder.  My primary objective for this painting was to capture the feel of looking skyward through pine braches.  Patches of blue stuck out among the bright puffy clouds. 
Meeker Ranch (Night)
September 14--3am
"South Dakota Pioneer Ranch, Moonlight (Meeker Ranch Custer, SD)"
Oil   12x16
Inspiration and Design:
My vantage point for this painting was the field immediately south of the homestead, approximately 50 yards away.  I was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to paint a nocturnal for the event.  The moon stage was near full, but the weather was not cooperating.  Friday night was completely overcast, and the painting conditions Saturday night began even worse.  The wind blew strongly, moving the clouds quickly across the landscape, creating a very changeable light pattern on the landscape.  As I waited (for better conditions), the weather got progressively worse as an intermittent rain started that was more on than off.  While waiting, I did witness a very interesting weather event: rain while the moon was shining.  I decided to get some sleep and check on conditions again later that night.  When I awoke at 2 am Sunday, I found a strong and consistent moonlight, perfect for painting, and I headed back down to the ranch.  My primary objective for this painting was to capture on canvas the pioneer spirit of the ranchers.  As I stood painting in the dark and remote wilderness, I thought I sensed a mountain lion stalking me at least four times.  The bravery and fortitude of the early South Dakota ranchers became quite apparent.