Welcome to McDaniel’s Farm—Gwinnett Parks Plein Air Challenge

This beautiful park is the last stop for the Gwinnett Parks Plein Air Challenge. We have been painting the parks around the county all summer and this last location is a true gem. It’s right off Norcross Rd., only about a half mile from the Gwinnett Mall. I worked over in this area when I first moved back to Georgia and I was surprised that such a nice spot escaped my exploring nature. I arrived late as usual..I prefer the afternoon sun. I was surprised to find a 134 acre site with a completely restored 1930’s farmhouse and out buildings. The McDaniel house itself is a handsome structure with a gabled ends and a large columned porch with an impressive brick and stone chimney. The out buildings include a large barn and several sheds that have been restored and set up with tools and farming equipment, even a vintage tractor. The grounds are equally impressive and well kept. You can easily imagine yourself in a rural 1900’s setting walking around these pristine fenced pastures with idyllic views.

I was determined to do two paintings this time so I set up with a view of one of the out buildings with the thought of doing a larger 11 x14″ of the farm house as the light improved in the afternoon. I composed the  9 x12 with an off-kilter gate that leads the way to this small share cropper cabin. I worked fast with a charcoal drawing and a dark lay-in trying to catch the midday shadows as they quickly moved from the left side to the wood shingled top. I’ve been having some problems with too dark shadows and I had to go back in after everything was finished and color them up a bit. The light is good in this one though and after about two and a half hours I was done.

I walked around the rest of the farm and took some photos trying to frame up a view for the larger painting. I finally set up around 2pm in the barn looking out towards the farm house. This was a bit challenging but I kept it dark and loose on the inside with a minimum of detail and opened it up to very high key view of the house. I had to eliminate a lot of details and quickly simplify the scene with my flat bush. It was coming along pretty well when a young lady came by and told me the farm closes at 4PM! Yikes…I had fifteen minutes to wrap it up and get out of there. I did my best but still had to ad in the sky in the parking lot.

I very much enjoyed the location and with a a rain date thrown in next week I hope to do a few more here before the judging and show take place in September. With a three painting limit I’m going to have a hard time deciding which ones to enter.

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