Father and Brother in the Farmyard

Father and Brother in the Farmyard

This is based on a photo taken in summer 1994. This is a deeply personal work. My father, who was a tillage farmer, and younger brother are standing in front of the Mercedes Benz tractor with a Berthoud sprayer mounted on the back. My father had recently bought the sprayer; it’s wider arms and bigger tank covered more ground in less time than the old one. Like his father Dan, my father, Tim, was a forward thinking man in terms of machinery. I took my time with this one. Difficult areas were the front wheel of the tractor especially the ridges , my father’s shirt, face and head ( I had to completely redo his head and face cos the head was too small in the first attempt), and the sprayer’s arms at an acute angle. The machinery and my father are long gone and my brother is now as tall as my father was in this painting. The time feels like a different age to me. A line from the film, ‘Blade Runner’, was in my head as I was working on this piece:

‘All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain’.

Grandfather Dan on his Fordson – Sold

Grandfather Dan on his Fordson

This painting is based on a black and white photograph taken on 22nd January 1943. My paternal grandfather Daniel T McCarthy is sitting on his newly bought Fordson tractor. The orange model was made from 1939 – 42. Behind the tractor is a plough. Much of the ploughs in Ireland were still horse drawn at that time. My grandfather was a forward thinking man in terms of farm machinery and this tractor was the very latest in tractor technology at that time. I didn’t know him, he died in 1973. The original photograph had a glare that obscured much of the engine detail. Also the very front of the tractor was cut off in the photo, so I had to consult the original negative plate to get it right. So I spent WAY too much time on this. I faded the colour in the sky to make it look colder and blurred the detail in the ground and background so the tractor stands out more.

David Brown Tractor

David Brown Tractor

This was my father’s tractor. He was dead over a year when I painted this in August, 1999. We had an old picnic table that we stored in the same shed as the tractor and I used it to paint this. I loved painting the rust on the hub of the wheel and the general grime and dust on the windows. Gnarly, decaying old objects are appealing to me. I had no work for the tractor to do so I gave it to a cousin of mine in 2008.