ArtPortUnity Knocks: Brenda Sageng

High Country Wheat by Brenda Sageng is an oil painting on canvas, approximately 28 by 24 inches.  It is a simple painting at first glance.  The viewer’s perspective begins on a dirt road overlooking a fenced-in field of wheat rising into a hill. On top of the hill are a few cattle. The depth of the painting implies a very large, steep hill.  Part of this is achieved by the size of the cattle, which are very tiny. Towards the bottom of the painting a barbed wire fence is shown. The painting can be separated into three main sections.  Upon closer inspection to the bottom section one can see the various shades of paint used to provide a realistic portrayal of wheat.  Fine brushstrokes are painted with multiple hues of oranges, greens and brown giving the wheat a wispy appearance.  The texture of the paint is very delicate, and gives the wheat a very realistic representation.   The detail used in painting the road, fence, and wheat in the bottom section helps provide perspective in the painting making it seem as though these objects are closer to the viewer.  As the viewer looks further up the hill, in the mid-section of the painting, the color of the wheat changes to more golden shades of yellow and light orange. The paint strokes become more blended and give the wheat field a softened look.  The yellows and oranges used in the painting provide a glow. On top of the hill are tiny figures, although they are not clear the viewer can easily assume that the figures are cattle.  While most of the painting is monochromatic, there is a deep contrast between the warm golden shades of the wheat field meeting the clear blue sky on the horizon.   In the top section of the painting, the vivid blue of the sky reflects the golden glow of the wheat field.  Some of the light seen in the painting can probably be attributed to the very slight , almost undetectable, brush strokes of a lighter blue in the sky , close to the left of the horizon.  Even with the lighting effects created in the painting, it is hard to tell exactly what time of day it is.

Considering that the painting resembles scenes in the local area, it is possible the artist was inspired by views they had personally viewed and wanted to share the beauty of the wheat field.  The painting has a simple composition, which can make it difficult to ascribe meaning to.  The painting, while similar in subject to van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows, evokes more warmth and comfort with its color content and lack of dark shades.  Sageng’s painting depicts contentment and happiness, which people tend to associate with the colors used. Maybe by using the golden tones which are also associated with wealth, she implies that the wheat field has great value aesthetically and for physical nourishment .

-Kelly Wright

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