"Harvest Home" oil painting by John Foster Dyess

I received the story titled “Harvest Home” ,written by Nettie Herr ,from art director David Wilson of Mature Living magazine in 1996. I was asked to illustrate this story and David suggested the situation I was to illustrate. This fiction story took place sometime in  Autumn of the late 1800’s. This is the part of the story I illustrated. “Eight year old Sarah followed her father down the road and into the field of corn. The beautiful,blue,autumn sky contrasted strikingly with the golden ocher cornstalks. Soon they would be cut down,shocked ,and gathered to use for fodder and winter bedding for the cattle in the barn-that is,all but the large ,dry,tasseled stalks they were approaching. Sarah stepped out in front of her father and ran to the spot,It was a happy,happy day. Sarah watched her father take the sharp sickle he carried to cut the tall stalks.”   Most of the information I needed to illustrate this story was included in this paragraph-the place ,the time of year ,the age of the girl and who she was with. I guessed that age of the father would be about 30 years old.The art director suggested the time period.

I hired a girl model about eight years old and a male model about 30 years old and went to a costume shop and rented costumes for the girl and man from the late 1800 period of America.

photo of eight year old model in costume.

profile of girl model

girl and man together.

I shot these photos in my home living room with a film camera using slide film. This is the pose I selected for the story. I made the corn talks out of brown craft paper.

pencil drawing for the painting.

I added a wagon, the fathers sickle and corn field drawn from reference from my reference library. This was before google  and finding images on the internet.

detail of pencil drawing.

The pencil drawing which is 17″ high by 16″ wide  was mailed to the art director ,again before the time of sending digital attachments on email. I actually spoke on a land line telephone to the art director and became friends with him. I worked with him for about eight years.

story of Harvest Home printed in Mature Living magazine

detail of "Harvest Home" oil painting by John Foster Dyess

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