Cotton Field-1Hour

North by Northwest —Part 2, The Cotton Field Incident

I wasn’t exactly ducking to avoid crop dusters but I did feel a bit isolated out on country roads this weekend. On February 8th I drove about an hour NW to the Etawah Indian Mounds. I got the idea of attempting something with a wide-open space. I’ve been there before many years ago so I thought this might be a good bet.  Unfortunately, the park was closed (on a Sunday!) so I just drove around up there —usually a waste of time. But as I was driving near the Etawah river I found this house with a  field of cotton in front—white house, white cotton, cool! I never saw cotton growing as long as I’ve been down here and it was winter. I could see fields of it in the distance too—a light blue color—very unusual. So I parked about a quarter-mile away on a small turn in across the road and set up on the other side in what now I understand was private property—well isn’t it all, but I should have asked.  I set up to do a quickie on one of my small taped up canvas pieces. About 20 minutes in a guy comes out and marches the 500 yards down the street, I meet him halfway.

Cotton Field-1Hour
Cotton Field-1Hour

“What are you doing?

—painting a picture

You can’t do that here—who are you?

Ed Cahill—card. Can I just finish up?

Well you can set up on the street but not here

OK—thanks.”

So I set up closer to the street and work on the little 8×10 just to finish it up. A few cars go by, one with a few women who are taking pictures of me with their cell phones. I wave and smile and get back to work. They come back a second time and roll down the window

“Do you know how disturbing it is to us that you’re painting a picture of our house? We live there—we don’t even know your children.”

Oh, I’m sorry, I’m just leaving.

“What are you going to do with that picture?”

Ahh… nothing probably keep it.

“Well, we want you to tear it up.”

“I’m not doing that— you can have it if you wish but I’m not tearing it up.”

So I packed up as fast as I could and got out of there thinking the State Patrol was on its way. Just another fun day painting.

I really did like the little painting although and my original intent was to have no road, just cotton in front of the white house. These ladies were also concerned that I had taken a few photos while I was there. Privacy is not as much a concern to me as to others I guess. I certainly was not doing anything to hurt anyone…I should have asked.

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