Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hot off the easel.

Hay Barn, Summer, 34 x 48 inches, oil on canvas.

Just finished, the larger version of a smaller study done this summer. It's a big hay barn across the road from my aunt and uncle's ranch in Oregon. Currently working on a significantly larger painting of the same barn in winter.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let's get small.

A selection of the small paintings to be offered at Richard C. Harrington Small Work.

As I have been working larger and larger over the past couple years, I have been very excited about the growth and development I have found in my work. From the thinking necessary to conceive the larger pieces to the drawing and paint handling required, the challenges have pushed me further than the work I have done before.

And at the same time, I have been frustrated. I learn something from every piece that I do, even when exploring a previous theme. The larger work requires such an investment of time, I produce far fewer pieces each year- one nine foot triptych has been underway for over a year and a half, leaving me much less opportunity to play and experiment with color and design. In talking about this with my friend, the artist David Oleski, he suggested I set aside some time each day for smaller work. When I explained I didn’t see small paintings fitting into my current body of work, he described how he had been working through ebay.

After contemplating it for a while, I have begun setting aside some time most days to work on these small pieces. The small paintings will be available in an auction format through a new blog, Richard C. Harrington Small Work. As the son of a couple antique collectors, I have always loved auctions and hope this can be a fun format for people to acquire these small pieces.

I see this body of work paralleling the development of my larger ideas. David had mentioned that the daily involvement with the smaller pieces started leading him in new directions. In fact, one aspect of the really big pieces I hope to pursue is a more intimate exploration of the landscape. The small pieces may become integral to that.

So there you have it. Going small to get bigger. I think Brad Pitt has a movie coming out about something along these lines. Oh great, now I'm trendy.

Or not.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Small Things

A small - well, tiny- painting of a good sized Colorado hay barn. Oil on panel, 2 3/4 x 4 inches.

OK, it's taking long enough I'd like to be saying I've been up to big things, but no, they're small. An announcement later this week.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I moved to South Lima 14 years ago, about this time of year. It is smaller than a small town, only a few dozen houses, surrounded by farms, dogs all around. I was working in a small studio behind the house, so I was home almost all the time. I got to know the neighbors pretty quickly.

Sam lived a couple doors up. I went to highschool with his wife. His sister and her husband are across the street from us. When I first met him I thought, Are people really that nice? And it turned out, yes, he really was that nice. Possibly the nicest person I've ever known. He worked as a tree trimmer for the power company, and farmed the fields behind his house. He was a worker if I've ever seen one. But his real interest seemed to be taking care of his family and their home. And his dogs.

He was killed tragically a couple days before Thanksgiving. An accident. He had walked his daughter down the aisle at her wedding only ten days before. Darby and I went to the calling hours, and the funeral the next day. Grief. Proof of the value of family and community. It is fortunate for all of them they are a large close family. I don't think it will change the pain, but share it.

I'm not sure why I decided to write about this. To honor Sam. To honor my brother.

We lost my brother over twenty years ago. Another accident. I understand the pain Sam's family is feeling, and hope they can come to terms with it. It never really goes away.

I miss my brother all day, every day.

In the season ahead, please remember all those you love, and make sure they know it. Life is fragile, precious, and all too brief.