Last fall, not far from here, I discovered a large hayfield with a gorgeous view of the Massanutten that I wanted to paint. The property had a locked gate and a sign on a nearby tree indicating the land was under historic preservation. What began as a series of phone calls to obtain permission from the owner to go in and photograph the field, ended a couple of weeks ago with the delivery of three commissioned landscape paintings to the offices of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation in New Market, Virginia.
I made contact with Chase Milner, Manager of Stewardship for the Foundation, who expressed delight that I wanted to paint the field. After several conversations and a meeting with both Chase and Denman Zirkle, the Foundation’s Executive Director, I was commissioned to complete three landscapes, not of the field which is part of the Cedar Creek battlefield, but of the area within the Civil War battlefield at Cross Keys in Rockingham County, Virginia.
I made several trips down to Cross Keys in late winter to photograph the sites and get an idea of how they looked when the battles were fought in June of 1862. I knew I wanted to paint the landscapes with the green vegetation of early summer and so a lot of my effort was purely imaginative. The work was hard but pleasant.
I feel honored to have been asked to do these paintings and I hope whoever receives them will be very pleased.
Old Wagon Road at Artillery Ridge
Trimble’s Fence Line-Widow Pence Farm