Some of the artwork in the annual ’Scapes exhibit reaches to distant locations around the globe, but other landscapes are close to home. Peggy Weed’s Old House, an oil painting, depicts a kind of place many of us are familiar with: somewhere we pass almost every day but know nothing about, just imagining the people and things that called it home.
Old House won the Chameli and Amiya Bose Memorial Award for the best oil or acrylic painting in the exhibit. We asked the artist to tell us more about this ’scape.
Where is Old House?
Peggy Weed: I have a small house out in the mountains of Highland County in Monterey, VA. There are only two roads leading into Monterey and I pass the old house I painted every time I go out there — it’s between Bridgewater and Circleville, VA on Rt 42.
What made you want to paint it?
Every time I pass one of these old houses, usually part of an abandoned farm, I think of the pride and joy the original owners must have felt when they lived there. I also wonder about all the life that went on in and out of the house — people sitting on the front porch watching the world go by — kids playing — the fathers working on the chores of the farm — and I want the viewer to see the beauty it once had and still does to me.
What makes a successful landscape painting, in your opinion?
A successful landscape to me is one that puts the viewer in the landscape and lets them wander about, taking in all the beauty and interesting parts of the painting.
Why are you a painter? Why oil, specifically?
I’m a painter because I love to paint, and doing so with oils is the most rewarding and the easiest way to me, in that you can always come back into the painting and change things that bother you about the piece. I also love to draw — working with graphite, charcoal, red chalk — I love it all and am always trying to improve.
What’s your creative process like, from an idea to a finished piece?
Sometimes something will hit me suddenly and I feel I must try to paint it at that moment! If it’s a still life, I’ll usually take photos until I really like what I see. Other times, I’ll think for a long time about an idea or an object that I know I want to paint, especially if I have photos I can work from, like with the old house painting. I’ll often ask a couple of painter friends to give me a little critique on whatever it is I’m doing — from there it always gets better, but sometimes it gets put away in the closet for another day.
What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on two small still life paintings of things recently found in a consignment shop.