Cole Farm on the Hill #1

by Alden Cole on January 18, 2013 · 0 comments

ColeFarm1aka Inside, Looking Out #12

oil on masonite – 30″ x 24.5″ – framed with antique window sash

While in Dayton in August of 2011, I found five old weather-beaten window sashes in the back of my brother Clark’s barn, formerly my dad’s. The windows had been replaced with newer ones in the 90s, but had survived being discarded, hidden away on an upper scaffold by my dad. He lived by an old adage: “never throw something away if you’ve got room to store it in the meantime.” And he had saved a good many things from the landfill, of little or no value, in that barn of his, which he had lived next to for over 70 years when he died at age 98 in 2009; a barn I knew intimately during the first 18 years of my own life.

When I discovered the sashes, I had no idea what my dad had saved them for, what he thought they might be used for in future, but I was glad anyway that he had stashed them rather than trashed them. I knew a perfect reuse.

Numerous panes of glass were already missing or broken, so after removing the remaining panes, cleaning the frame and mullions as if I were going to reglaze, I simply Briwaxed the wood to make them satisfyingly touchable. Up on the scaffold I had also discovered some smaller pieces of plywood that only needed a little resizing and priming to fit the found sashes. I had the makings for a series of five new paintings with frames. That same week I pencil-drew the above composition onto one the larger primed plywood panels. At the end of vacation I left all the pieces there for another year.

I returned to Dayton for the first 10 days of July 2012, boldly colorizing the penciled composition on July 5-6. Returning to Philadelphia with the painting, plus several others, along with their window-sash frames, I made slight revisions to this one in the studio, then combined it with its intended sash.

An evocation of summer and fullness and flowers and swollen life based on the view from the back of the house I grew up in, looking at the farm on the hill, where my grandparents lived, which was my second home in childhood.

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