Monday, June 22, 2015

Carny (Revisited)

Last year my friends and I visited the Amador County Fair, a trip that is coming up again in a few weeks.  It is a great little Fair...a page from the past when going to the Fair was a pleasant family experience. 4-H kids showing their beautiful steers and sheep and calves, art exhibits, a parade of antique tractors down 'main street', lots of shade trees for sitting under while having a corn dog and beer....well it just doesn't get much better than that.  And of course there is a 'midway' with all the rides and coin tosses and cheap prizes.

And there along the midway, I spotted this Country Fair Carny seeking shade under an umbrella while waiting for the next muscle man to come along and want to show off to his girl. On the very warm July day, the suckers were few and far between.

I painted this version of The Carny shortly after that visit....


Recently I was looking at the painting - one which I have always liked - and thinking about composition, focus and the challenge of the background.  As much as I felt this painting turned out pretty well, I also had never quite figured out the background. The Carny seemed a little lost in the  'confusion'.   In particular however, I wanted to play with how I might have made it a better composition...something with more impact from across a room.

I pulled the painting off the wall began to sketch a larger Carny right over the original, emphasizing the diagonal relationship of his body to the canvas.  I also played with how to suggest a background without allowing it to be a major part of the painting.  I wanted something to 'frame' the Carny, not compete with him.
Carny    Oil on stretched canvas  11 x 14 inches

The Carny is a much different painting now.  This is how I remembered him.  Although he was surrounded by midway "stuff" and by people walking by, he was quite alone.  His boredom was palpable in the heat of the summer day.  This is what I saw when I snapped the photograph.

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art


  1. I think you're right: two different paintings. I like them both for different reasons. I like the expansiveness in the first one and the face in the second. Either encourages me to apply for my visa if I were searching for a slice of Americana. Nice work!

  2. Thanks Kansas! When I got through the struggles of 'redesigning' the original painting, I liked the outcome. But for all that struggle, I didn't like it BETTER than the first one. Just two different renderings of the same scene. But I did feel good about letting go of the first version and exploring. Another lesson learned.