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Volunteers © Judy Lavoie


Original Watercolor on Paper by Judy Lavoie

IMAGE SIZE: 30" x 22"

STATUS: For Sale, unframed $650

"You'll notice that this painting combines some of my favorite painting subjects: an old vehicle, a weathered farm building, animals, barbed wire, and wildflowers! The fire truck was my first inspiration and the other elements were added to put it into an invented rural setting.

When I photographed the truck as reference for the painting, it was parked on the north side of a commercial building, with a "for sale" sign propped on the bumper. The only way to get the truck in even lighting was to photograph it on an overcast day, but I like the more dramatic lighting of bright sunshine. So I opted for early morning light, which cast the least amount of shadow from the adjacent building. In place of that building, I decided to use a reference from my photo files of a small old farm building. This set the stage for making it look like the truck was abandoned in a barnyard.

Years ago I brought an unusual dinner plate home from a trip to Switzerland - where they love their cows. I loved its cartoon depiction of two cows, one following the other, with a special flower bouquet on their forehead. I loved how one was entering and one leaving the scene. I adapted the idea to my painting, adding two realistic cows to the foreground, adding a touch of humor and more emphasis to the "farm" theme. I struggled to make the ground look like trodden hay. I painted shades of gold in a rough, scattered manner. Then I cut little slots in a piece of acetate and kept laying it randomly over the dried gold shades and wiping through the opening with a damp stiff brush - a process which removes the paint and reveals the clean paper. To add another dimension in front of the barbed wire fence I painted in wild daisies and grasses.

When I was deciding what to name this new painting, I thought of how the viewer's eye would go to the truck lettering "Coker Creek Volunteer Fire Dept." I decided to title it "Volunteers" as if the cows are the volunteers now! Also, I live in the Volunteer State of Tennessee, so it all seemed appropriate.

I'm glad I immortalized this old truck - after I finished my painting I noticed the truck is no longer parked in town. Perhaps it has found a new home."

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