Posts Tagged ‘field workers’

Hide and Sync

Monday, June 1st, 2009

the dance of how we see

sync hoes

Sync Hoesdigital image – Dan Beck 2009

This painting was created in early April.  It is an image which  comes from both what I witness and what I understand.

This is often the nature of how I create – something captures my attention – in this case the in-sync hoeing that looks like a dance to a slow passing motorist.  It was the relationship of the field workers I was focused on and not the location.

There was a place – but again I was more concerned with the color.  Attention is related to understanding because so much of what we see is dependent upon what we are looking to see.

One could see the above art as abstract, as colorful, as primitive, as movement or perhaps none of the above.  It is my understanding which makes it work – I hope it works for yours as well.

See Also

  • Hoe Dance – 2005 painting with a similar theme

Digital Art Follows a Theme

Friday, August 31st, 2007

perspective from above – same theme, different understanding?

Flat Runs - digital art - painting & original prints - Dan Beck 2007

Flat Runs – digital art – painting & original prints – Dan Beck 2007

This is my last completed digital painting – finished last week sometime. It was started after the first same themed piece and prior to the last featured piece from more of the true perspective – if there is such a thing.

The work was inspired by a drive-by moment witnessing three field workers racing their strawberry flats to the staging area or truck – I didn’t notice.

It is more about feeling and understanding than actual viewing and therefore a view from above is just as true – but it wasn’t what I wanted and I started another piece before I finished this.

And though I think the other two pieces are more original art for me – I do love the bright color and some of the digital art twists, turns, and copy and paste which are not always utilized in my work.

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Checkerboard Light and Dark

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

when people become pieces

Checkerboard Day 1 - digital painting - Dan Beck 2007

Checkerboard Day 1digital painting – Dan Beck 2007

There is a light which happens on the Gabilan Mountains sometimes – where the shadows from the clouds above leave a checkerboard pattern of light and dark visible from all over.

Unusually, the clouds were very mixed checked black and white themselves.

On the same day – later on, I noticed two field workers – hoisting pipes in unison. Though not choreographed, it seemed like it could have been.

I am not sure why I tied the two together – it could have been two different digital paintings – but I think I saw a connection between checkers pieces and the two workers in sync or maybe I am adding meaning after the fact.

There is more movement, more dance, more transparency; but I only saw a glimpse as a passing motorist.

See Also

  • Original Prints – though I have not made the art prints for this new digital painting available for easy purchase yet – please familiarize yourself
  • Photo Essay – searching the checkerboard landscape of images on the web – yielded this fascinating glimpse of history

First Figures: Original Art

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

figures at once – one stroke initial creation

Fielding - digital painting / original prints - Dan Beck 2005

Fieldingdigital painting / original prints – Dan Beck 2005

This is the first time I looked at the landscape and was struck that I had to start including figures. I saw the field workers picking strawberries and the unnatural curvatures of their backs and knew I had to paint them.

I created a backdrop – colorful, abstract, and hot.

At the time, I had not done much with drawing or painting figures using a mouse and the computer and wasn’t even sure I could pull it off. The skill involved in painting on the computer – though related to drawing with pen or pencil is different.

Each of these figures was done with basically one big stroke of the mouse – the colors imparted fall on the inside of the curve. I am certain I took a few stabs at it – I typically can erase one such stroke.

I still create figures mostly this way – the first outline of a figure needs to capture the essence of the individual I am creating. I don’t know exactly how I see the figure or even how I have made the process rather unconscious. Understanding is useful, but much of the time with art and life it is a tool to make things more intuitive.

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Portraying Strawberry Harvest

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

conveying scene, witness, labor, humanity and meaning

Strawberry Fields - digital painting / art prints - Dan Beck 2005

Strawberry Fields digital painting / art prints -Dan Beck 2005

I started working on a new art piece – not above – but related. Witnessing the daily harvest of strawberries is actually fairly new to me.

Many of the fields around me were converted last season. The above digital painting is from the previous year but is about trying to convey this incredible scene.

The field workers are always in what look like uncomfortable positions – kneeling, curved backs, stretched out – but I am generally not as close as the portrayal above.

As a witness, it is my goal to both share the awkwardness, the humanity, the dignity and perhaps the dismay – at those people who think that migrant labor is a job that people born in America would actually be willing to do.

I just came back from a trip to New York, and the truth is – it is almost impossible to get summer help from American youth any more.

This is not a political blog, but imagine a world without strawberries.

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Completed Digital Painting

Friday, May 19th, 2006

Attitude perhaps more important than Art

Grandeur From The Gorge - digital painting - 2006- Dan Beck

Grandeur from the Gorgedigital painting – 2006 – Dan Beck

The is the final in a three part series on the creation of this piece – from sketch, to filled-in sketch to the above.

I was successful in creating the majesty of the mountains in contrast to the smallness of the field workers and of course in contrast to us, the viewer. I am pleased with the way I painted the mountains and even created the grape rows.

I am pleased with a lot of aspects of the piece and some of the adjustments made to make the flow of the eye work better – the mountains on the left, the grape rows on the right, the grape rows on the left and even the big giant shadow.

But I am not ecstatic with it, not even delighted. Perhaps it is part of being too close or perhaps it just didn’t come together in the end quite as well as I’d hoped – or maybe it is because I am not feeling 100% at the moment and nothing seems that good.


Being pleased with something we have done or something we have viewed is so much about what we bring into it – our attitude is much more telling of whether something will be received well – than is the actuality about the piece – if there even is such a thing.

So perhaps your attitude is better than mine today – if you like the piece and are interested in possibly purchasing an original art print – please email specialorders@outhousestudios.net.In the mean time, I think I must live to paint again.

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The Print and the Impression

Monday, May 1st, 2006

original art prints and the impression of a situation

Base fo the Mountain - digital painting for art prints - 2005

Base of the Mountaindigital painting for art prints

Over the weekend, I was looking at some block prints done by high school students in the area and I got to thinking about their process and the definition of a print.  

A print requires a transfer – perhaps an "impression", mold, carving, stone, matrix, etc. to impart an image onto paper or cloth.

In the case of digital art  and the resulting art prints, the digital image – painting in my case, is that "impression". I find this even more apt since so much of my work is from an "impression" I might get from a scene.

Such is the work above. I drove by quickly – glancing back to take in the field workers picking strawberries. It frequently looks like a dance one when one goes by quickly, but I seriously doubt they were having anywhere near the fun of the what I portrayed. In fact, I know better particularly on this "Day without Immigrants".

And though I tout my art prints as being originals(the monitor image can’t practically be hung)- they are impressions of an original scene – and are removed from the original inspiration just as any art might be.

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On Being Creative: #8

Monday, April 17th, 2006

Humans are creative by nature

Spinach Harvest - Digital Painting 2005

Spinach HarvestDigital Painting – Dan Beck – 2005

Realize that we are all creative beings – by virtue of our ability to talk with each other and express even the most simple things, we all possess an element of creativity not generally recognized.

Just as reading a book requires creativity so does appreciating a work of art. Everyone has a part in creativity whether they are aware of it or not.

Moreover, it is our obligation as creative people to allow others their creativity and encourage it.


The complete document On Being Creative with all ten points is available at outhousestudios.net "Free Downloads".

Though the above point feels complete enough – I cannot express strongly enough how being creative is actually part of our nature and its suppression is part of how we have structured the world – treating and replacing people like things.

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Finished Digital Painting

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

Final Path Taken, Technique & Subject Matter

Finished digital painting Horizon 4-2006-Dan Beck

Click for Enlargement – Horizon 4 – Digital Painting 2006

If one looks at the previous sequence of images (below or Part 1, Part 2)of this piece unfinished, there is a more complete story than just the finished piece. Of course, the point of this series is that there is always such a tale of different directions in any piece.

Part of the creative process is the act of choosing what path or route to take. For me working in this digital painting medium, there are many different techniques at my disposal – just like with a more physical style of painting.

The fun, the challenge, the intrigue of the process is bound up with problem solving and choosing and developing techniques. Even if the finished piece is to represent nothing more than the finished piece itself – there are choices about how to create or represent the image.

In this particular case, the final choice to add field workers was the final choice – I didn’t know I needed or wanted them until I got to the final stage.  I do feel it gives the piece that extra something it needed, but the scene I basically sketched in is also very much around these days – workers milling around – squatting, sitting, weeding and stripping the immature berries for better production later

– at least that is what I think they are doing.  As you can see from the painting, they are not all that close.

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Digital Painting Figures In

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

Art at a Glance, Interpretation and Limits

Hoe Dance - Digital Painting - 2005 - Dan Beck

Hoe Dance – Digital Painting 2005

This digital painting is another piece from the NEW Figures Art Gallery.  The piece is based on a drive by glance at two field workers hoeing in unison – no one else close by – working one in front of the other – the motion a dance.

Whether I pulled off their synchronicity or not, I can’t very well say. But I did manage to get their proximity and aloneness in the field.

From an art perspective, the fields have this wonderful texture – creating a blanket which we don’t normally view fields as – but it is often how I see.

The figures also have something pretty unusual going on. Though not intended to be anatomically accurate – they nevertheless carry a power and resolve which I am pleased came through.

When I do figures, I generally create them in one stroke of the mouse and then fill in and embellish as necessary. This partly came about because of the medium itself – not allowing for more than one correction back – as though oil painting were less forgiving.  Though to some extent I can fix and patch and correct – there are limits to it – and as I keep saying limits are valuable.

There is complexity and naiveness in this art.  The medium, my physical skills, and vision all provide limits and this gives the work a lot of its unique character.

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