It’s a long way to Martha’s Vineyard

Because it took me an exceptionally long time to complete this commission, I’m going to attempt to give you as many details as possible so you can suffer along with me. It all started quite innocently when a long-time friend of mine somehow brought to my attention a photo of Martha’s Vineyard. I looked at the photo and thought wow, that looks like something I painted 30 years ago, back when I didn’t care all that much how accurately my paintings portrayed reality. So I sent her this:

She got all excited and wanted to know if I would sell it because she knew somebody (boyfriend, it turned out) who would love to have it and his birthday was imminent. Unfortunately, scrupulously honest person that I am, I said I couldn’t sell it because I painted it from a photo I didn’t take and I respect copyright laws (of course I do–I’m an artist, right?). That prompted her to ask would I do a commission from one of her photos? In the meantime I looked up the photo source of this painting which I still had from those 30 years ago, and it turned out to be Menemsha Harbor on Martha’s Vineyard, the very place she had been talking about. I got a slew of emails with more photos of “MV”, and proceeded to Photoshop™ them until my eyes turned red, trying to get a good composition that simultaneously wasn’t ridiculously complicated. We both agreed on one particularly attractive version (after I digitally tore down a few houses, sank a couple of boats, rearranged some trees, and demolished the gas pumps on one of the piers). To make it even more interesting, we both agreed that a winter scene would be a fun thing to have since almost every depiction of Martha’s Vineyard is of summer and tourists.

So to let you know just how complicated and detailed a task I set myself up for, let me say that I spent an inordinate amount of time gridding out tiny details onto the 24″ x 36″ canvas, including a bunch of houses that measured maybe 1″ wide. I have photos to prove it. Here we go (click on a photo to see in gallery mode):

If you made it this far, I hope you aren’t as exhausted as I was by the time I finished this painting. Without a doubt, it is the most intricate, detailed painting I have ever done. I’m happy with it, my friend loves it, and…who knows, maybe someone else with a cottage on Martha’s Vineyard might some day decide they would like a personal painting of their own little piece of heaven on the island?

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
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16 Responses to It’s a long way to Martha’s Vineyard

  1. Jan Fedorenko says:

    Ali – your work is so beautiful…and it’s matured. I am so struck by the detail and execution!!!!
    Jan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alli Farkas says:

      Thanks Jan! Yes, there was an incredible amount of detail in this one, even after I digitally removed a huge chunk of buildings, boats, weird stuff stacked on the pier, and on and on. It was a challenge indeed. And I am just so elated that it turned out close to what I hoped for and the friend who commissioned it is so excited for it too.

      Like

  2. It’s always wonderful to see a painting build like that. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jofox9973 says:

    This is astounding – I love it! It’s lovely to see your process photos too. Very well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alli Farkas says:

      Thanks Jo! And yes, it was quite a “process”!

      Like

      • jofox9973 says:

        I hope you don’t mind, but I have a horse related art question…

        I am fascinated by Friesian horses – especially when they do that extended high trot – it’s like poetry in motion. I am in utter awe of it.

        I very much wanted to make a painting of this but despite tracking down someone who owns a friesian locally and taking loads of photos and I can’t find a still image of them in a trot which carries the grace of their movement.

        The only idea I’ve had is to choose a photo which is closest to what I want and then use the flow of their tail and mane and the long hair around their feet (sorry don’t know the word for that) to try to capture something of the grace of it. Being an experienced horse person and artist, do you have an ideas?

        Like

        • Alli Farkas says:

          I think what I would do is search for some video of Friesians in action and step through it till I found a moment in time that was closest to what I was looking for. Probably a Friesian page on Facebook would be a good place to start. I doubt many Friesian owners, trainers, and sellers are worried about copyright on their boasting posts. Just stay away from professional photographers work unless you are only using a tiny part of it for reference. Or you could look on “horses for sale” sites such as Dream Horse or Equine Now and look at their posted photos and videos. Ehorses.com has a few nice active still shots if you scroll through them. Or search “Friesian Dressage” on YouTube. Friesians are becoming popular in amateur dressage competitions. FYI😁the long hair on the legs is called “feathers”.

          Liked by 1 person

        • jofox9973 says:

          Thank you – that’s really very helpful indeed! “Feathers” I’ll remember!!!😁😁😁

          Like

  4. Emma Cownie says:

    I loved watching the commission progress. It’s a beautiful piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That is quite a piece of work. And I can see why it was taking a long time. But the end result is amazing. Such a gorgeous panting, And it looks perfect over the fireplace.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. rangewriter says:

    This if fantastic! Thank you for sharing the intricacies and the many steps and considerations that go into bringing an idea/concept to life on canvas. I am exhausted just thinking about it all.

    Liked by 1 person

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