The Artwork of
Kevin M. Haller
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Studio (working from photo of Meeker Ranch in Custer, SD)
February 18
"Last Firewood Run Before Night (on the Frontier)"
Watercolor   14x21
Inspiration and Design:
I was participating in the Great Black Hills Paint Out 2008 at Meeker Ranch.  It was late afternoon, and my vantage point was up the hill and north of the ranch house.  I set up my easel inside the open front shed on the side of the horse barn.  I was fairly confined to that location because it was one of the few that provided shelter from an extremely stiff wind.  From my vantage point, I saw many ranch visitors walk up the hill towards me.  Watching these folks bracing against the wind, I imagined a frontiersman venturing out to do chores in harsh winter.  In the composition, I wanted to make three primary statements.  First, I wanted to depict late afternoon, so all objects would have a violet cast.  Second, the Black Hills landscape has an abundance of pine trees, so in addition to placing numerous tree shapes in the middle distance and background, I included a large shadow shape of a trees in the foreground.  And lastly, it was imperative to depict the continuous struggle for warmth on the frontier.  On the frontier, fire was needed for warmth.  For sufficient warmth, fire had to be maintained in multiple locations simultaneously throughout the home.  To depict this struggle, the composition depicts a frontiersman heading out to gather firewood in the evening with a backdrop of three hungry mouths(fireplaces) to feed.