a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Broken Promise

When you take away a man's dignity he can't work his fields and cows, "Rain on the Scarecrow"

By Scott Beveridge

The house losing its white paint and becoming overgrown by nature caught my eye while driving along lonely Route 27 in western Minnesota about five years ago.

It especially was the tall, broken tree near the front door that convinced me pull over, turn around and go back to take a photograph of the abandoned farmhouse in the heart of America's Great Plains. After I drove off toward Minneapolis, I thought the composition would make an interesting watercolor.

The scene then made me think of songs by John Mellencamp and Willy Nelson about farmers struggling to keep their land and those who have lost the battle to keep the property that had been in their families for generations.

I wondered, too, how long it would take before a strong wind toppled the rest of that once-mighty tree and sent it crashing into the house without anyone immediately noticing the damages.

Eventually, I sketched this house on watercolor paper and spread some paint here and there, but kept putting the painting aside.

Finally it's taken a number of fresh brushstrokes tonight for me to decide this often-ignored painting is finished just like that house. Maybe.

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