Monday, April 19, 2010

Nipomo Project

" Nipomo Vista"
12" x 16" Oil on canvas
I was one of 12 artists asked to participate in an event sponsored by the Dana Adobe in Nipomo. They asked the artists to paint a scene of Nipomo past or present. I opted for the present but had a great time researching the town of Nipomo. It seems one of the most famous images out of the depression was photographed there by photographer Dorothea Lange. This is Mrs Lange posing on her car with her big box camera......
The pic she took while stopping in a farm workers camp was known as "Migrant Mother"...you might recognize it....
Lange took a group of photos of this woman and her children. One of them included the tent and some background where she was at while waiting for their car to be repaired on their way to Oregon.

Here is a pic of nipomo today with the same eucalyptus trees in the background...as you can see this area hasn't changed much....

These eucalyptus trees provided shade and a place to camp while working the farm fields of Nipomo. From this shot below you can see some of the pea pickers with the hills of nipomo directly behind them. At the time Dorothea Lange stopped it was because she had saw a sign that read "Pea Pickers Camp".

Anyway....I like history, especially local history! My grandma & grandpa broke horses and picked pecans during the Depression in Oklahoma and Texas. They met at a dance on a saturday night for the pickers...That was a tough bunch of people who made it through that. Next time you sit down to have a fancy coffee drink at Starbucks just think about what some of those people went through....just to survive.

4 comments:

Mick Carney said...

What a wonderful post. I'm a great fan of the Lange photographs but the highlight for me is the stunning impact of your painting. The wider value range than you usually deploy and those sumptuous darks make this jump off the page. Love it Ron.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Mick,
I'm not that schooled in photography and very surprised you had heard of Lange....showing my ignorance here....just a lot. My research led me to this photo and many of of the others she took. The fact that this photo was taken up the road from me...about 30 minutes drive, really grabbed my attention.

I have driven past these trees as they are right off the freeway and never once thought about migrant workers from the Depression being out in that beautiful valley in the hot sun or during the cold winds earning what they could. I can't imagine how a nation could have gone through the Depression....what that must have done to families.

Thanks for the comments on the painting Mick...It went really fast and fell together so maybe the inspiration was behind all of that. Thanks buddy!

Teresa said...

Oh WOW Ron!!!!!!!!! I think you've outdone yourself with this one! This is a stunning painting, my new favorite of yours! Keep up the great work!!

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Teresa,
Thanks for the nice comments Teresa. I'm glad this one came out like it did. I took way too much time trying to come up with an idea of what to paint so I'm glad it ended with this. Thanks Teresa.