My father used to say, “You’ve got to get there early enough to get it; you’ve got to be there before the crow flies,” but I’d never seen it until now. I was up early hunting for inspiring views from which to create a painting. I found one just around the corner from where I live.

This scene was dramatic and peaceful at the same time. It was a cool morning, and the ground fog that had formed in low-lying areas read like a bright ribbon of blue that complemented the sky. That, plus the bright orange ribbon of light slicing through the picture, were accents that raised this view above the every day. I wanted to make sure the painting had a sense of depth, so I was very careful with where I heightened the chroma of my oil paint mixtures so that I controlled the travel of the viewer’s eye.

For me, the success of big vista-type paintings like this depend on details that encourage close inspection and are fun to paint. The “crows” on the fence are just quick simple brush strokes.

Upon reflection I realized that I was inspired by the sheer design aspect of the whole piece. The painting is banded. It has two strong verticals. It’s got strong color and contrast. The addition of the crows warmed up the feeling the painting evokes and is a tongue-in-cheek bit of humor to brighten a day.