Ray Hassard

Morning Sunlight, March 2020
Pastel on Paper
20 x 16 in
For many years, I have painted at a nearby farm in Western Cincinnati. The farm is very large, with several ponds and acres of fruit trees. Ron, the farmer has always been very welcoming and allowed me to bring artist friends and even classes there to paint. It is one of the most beautiful places I know in this area at all times of the year, and I consider it one of my “spiritual homes."

2020, of course, was rocked in March by the pandemic and lockdown. Two friends and I decided to get out and paint at least once a week. On our second visit there, Ron was inside the small building that serves as their produce outlet during the summer. I went inside to speak with him, and as we talked about the future in the dark, empty store, sunlight suddenly streamed in through the rear door onto the back wall. It seemed like a good sign, an omen of light in the darkness (literally) and hope. I took a few photos quickly; it moved on and disappeared shortly. I showed them to my friends, and one said: “You should paint that!”

"Morning Light" was done in my studio from the photos and from the memory of that moment. As the lockdown continued, we returned to the farm to paint the fruit trees in bloom and other scenes and always felt peaceful contentment in being there.