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Just Pumpkins, No Spice

I began painting at a nearby pumpkin farm over twenty years ago. At first, I was buoyed by the freedom of doing just as I pleased on a week day when, for years I had been punching the clock. Having dreamed of freedom like this and suddenly given unlimited time to be the artist I knew I was, I took 20” x 30” (full) sheets of watercolor paper and filled them with scenes of the barren, yet beautful fields. The pumpkin farm became my fall studio where amid the smells of hay, weeds and grasses past their prime, I took on the challenge of replicating nature in watercolor. I painted piles of pumpkins, fall trees and later, the farmer’s pride and joy, grossly oversized, cartoonish orange globes and, within the past few years, bleached out and bland albino pumpkins.

The culminating event for the farm is always Halloween. As the big day approaches ordinary, sunshiny hay rides are supplemented at night with the slow-moving, wagon creaking into the woods, straight down a path toward the Ancient Boneyard, Quicksand Pit making its way along the Cobweb Pass. Costumed figures materialize out of the dark cued by a creepy-voiced narrator. Billows of smoke and the unmistakable smell of burning leaves is in the air as kids of all ages gather in the glow of the fire to hear stories of strange and unnatural events. Then, as suddenly as it begins, on November 1st, all activity ceases. The place is as barren and stripped of life as an abandoned cemetery. Ragged pieces of broken pumpkin spewing seeds and entrails the only color.

One year, I stretched the season beyond common sense. Dressed in boots, heavy coat and thick scarf, I stood on the frosty ground painting with my hands encased in wooly gloves, a flat-bed wagon my easel. The key building, a plain farmhouse from the late 1800s, (with a plaque marking its historic significance) my subject. The goal, of course was to make the painting appear as cold and lonely as the day.

Keeping a journal makes sense when you have a store of great memories. Can't you tell how much I've enjoyed my time at the pumpkin farm as you read this story? By writing your experiences you season them with details only you know. Best of all, when you write, you preserve for eternity your own voice. Your personality and style will shine through and be enjoyed and remembered by others forever. This journal by bobbin-olive is the perfect place to begin storing your collection of life events.

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