Saturday, August 25, 2012

What is the bird perched on?


Presenting...

"Weighted (Carolina Wren)"
Oil on 1/2 Maple Panel
18 x 24

You may find yourself asking, “What is that bird perched on?” 

This painting was inspired by my travels to Oklahoma, particularly my 2010 visit to Tulsa when a friend of mine took me out into the fields looking for pumpjacks. Ever since my first visit to Oklahoma I have wanted to somehow incorporate a pumpjack into a painting. Now you may be asking what is a pumpjack?

A pumpjack is the overground drive for a reciprocating piston pump in an oil well. It is used to mechanically lift liquid out of the a well and is very common in oil rich areas like Oklahoma. The prime mover, commonly an electric motor, of the pumpjack runs a set of pulleys to the transmission which drives a pair of cranks, generally with counterweights on them to assist the motor in lifting the heavy string of rods. The cranks raise and lower one end of an I-beam which is free to move on an A-frame. On the other end of the beam, there is a curved metal box called a Horse Head or Donkeys Head, so named due to its appearance.

So “what is the bird perched on,” the counterweight of the pumpjack that rests on the back end of the pumpjack. I found this object very intriguing not only because of what it is but also due to it’s character, the aging and peeling paint as well as the rust creates a varying amount of textures that I wanted to paint. This particular pumpjack was in the same field as the oil collection drum that I painted in “Shadow (Scissor-tailed Flycatcher)” the sister painting to this one.


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