View Full Version : Out for a Spin

06-28-2012, 04:57 PM

Title: Out for a Spin
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 24x36
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

This is an iconic Texas image (I've gotta pander to the market to get my rent money). For those who don't know what it is, we calls it a "windmill" but not like the Dutch ones. And it's a misnomer because no milling goes on. The blades turn and water is pumped up, generally to feed cattle. In the 19th century, dozens of companies were making different designs of water pump "windmills" but the leader and now essentially a monopolist is Aermotor who started in 1888. Aermotor began in Illinois and then had a colorful history of different owners and different locations (at one point, Argentina). But in 1986, a group purchased the company and finally got things right by moving it all to San Angelo, Texas (Yee Haw) where it exists today in a 40,000 sq ft factory. You might think these gadgets would be driven out of biz since the world discovered electric pumps but you would be wrong. They are used everywhere in Texas and other ranching states and electricity ain't getting any cheaper so they have a bright future.
My painting doesn't show the individual blades; I'm trying to suggest it's spinning and hence a bit blurry. I decided to depict the blades yellow as this seemed more interesting than silver and Plan A was to do a violet sky to set up a complementary color scheme. But as the painting neared completion, I began to hate the level of chroma in the violet and replaced it all with a cool gray gradiant which allows (I hope) the blades to shine.


06-28-2012, 08:49 PM
There should be spaces between the blades so the wind can actually cause the blades to spin. These are more correctly called Wind Pumps. You are right they don't mill but they do pump water.
If you check you will find that these things are found all over Australia too.


06-28-2012, 10:20 PM
Aussies are soul brothers and sisters to Texans. The lack of spaces between the blades is deliberate because when the windmill spins, you can't see any spaces and my painting is titled, "Out for a Spin". I have perhaps not blurred the blades competantly.

06-29-2012, 01:24 AM
really liking the stark reality and if you blur it more to show more movement you'll lose me - consider changing the title.

finding the background altogether [especially upper] too ChUnKy, could be the photo, but it's also quite vast up there, more 'leg' next time, yes? or bring the light up further perhaps

nice one tho, yup


06-29-2012, 01:27 AM
Ahhhh it is spinning, ok in that case the main radial supports from the gearbox housing need to be blurred a bit.


You are correct Adelaide where I am is a sister City to Austin Texas and we have been since 1983


06-29-2012, 07:39 AM
Yesterday, I didn't even know what "main radial supports" are. Today, I will blur them. Thanks, Andrew.
What does "more leg" mean, La? I have been figuring I'd put in some tones suggesting misty clouds, if I can get away with it. But I need some days for drying first.

06-29-2012, 01:07 PM
What does "more leg" mean, La? I have been figuring I'd put in some tones suggesting misty clouds, if I can get away with it. But I need some days for drying first.

there's more upper sky than lower space below the spinning thing - more leg means longer supports for said spinning thing ... lightening the sky should work tho, cause you can't really add more leg to this one


06-29-2012, 05:05 PM
I don't think it looks spinning, looks like one solid ruffly ring thing. Maybe if it had some of the blue blended in between the yellow - you know when something is spinning fast, the color looks like both itself plus the background combined?

I like your color combo. I can imagine how the violet would be too much.

06-30-2012, 12:20 AM
I don't feel the spinning. It looks like solid corrugated metal to me. The image makes me think of a moon mission. Maybe it's the ChUnKy backdrop. :cat: And whatever is jutting out kinda feels like a flag.

Your work is always creative and interesting! As well as well done, of course :cat:

06-30-2012, 03:42 AM
The 'flag' is the tail vane. The function of the tail vane is to keep the rotor orientated into the wind. Most windpumps have a tail vane, which is designed, for automatic furling (turning the machine out of the wind) at high wind speeds to prevent damage.


06-30-2012, 10:36 AM
Andrew, I want to know if you're an artist or rancher? Anyhow, a number of people are having trouble seeing the windmill spinning. I acknowledge this and can say that I've had trouble painting it. Tomorrow, I'll have the bg mostly dry and I'm going to try to work its tones a bit and improve, if possible, the sense of movement on the blades. The suggestion from Allison of working some blues inbetween kinda the blades, is right. I kinda tried to do it but can't overdo it because I have almost no hue in the sky. The coloration is deliberately false but I think it makes for a striking image.

Dana Design
06-30-2012, 03:26 PM
Spin, no spin. Doesn't matter to me. I love this just as it is!

07-01-2012, 07:42 AM
Thanks, Dana. And Lunchbox sent me a private message with a photo of a spinning windmill to help as a reference. It's rather like my existing reference and the problem remains for me to catch more the effect in my painting. It has occurred to me that I might try to sell the piece to TV talkmeister, Bill O'Reilly whose slogan is, "You're about to enter a No Spin Zone" and "The Spin Stops Here."

07-01-2012, 08:30 AM
Maybe this example will help to understand the play of light in a spinning wheel.
Imagine you are looking at a standing horse-drawn gig. The long axis of the ellipse depicting the wheel is at right-angles to the axle joining the wheels. The slender spokes of the wheel wil show more space between them in the areas of the short axis (of the ellipse) whilst they will show less space between them in the regions of the long axis. You will be able to see more of the view between the spokes in the region of the shorter axis.

When the wheel is spinning very quickly there is a darker blur near the ends of the long axis whilst the sections along the short axis will have almost vanished.

Apply this to the blades of the windmill and the same effect will be apparent but with less extremes due to the width of the blades and the spaces between them. But there will be a definite difference in the quality of the blurring. Some of the light of the sky will be showing in the shorter axis region. Applying this with lost edges will give the spin.

I hope that my somewhat inadequate verbal description may give some gist to the solution


07-01-2012, 08:41 AM
I like the perspective in this one, you did very well. And that could have gone easily wrong! I'm curious whether you will succeed in showing us the mill actually spinning.
You did a great job in showing the light and shadow on the blades. Hope this will remain.

07-01-2012, 09:34 AM
No not a rancher, I don't have a wind pump, but I have seen a few :), I use a bore pump run by electricity.
I am on a run down cherry orchard, suits me, being a bit run down myself.
I think the painting is quite good by the way.


07-01-2012, 01:37 PM
I think that you acomplished what you set out to do. Since I know nothing about windmills, I can't comment on how technically right or wrong your painting is. Keep them coming.

07-05-2012, 07:21 PM
All this technical talk about spinning verses not spinning is making my head spin lol.. glad you are up for the callenge Bob. This is a nice painting but can't wait to see how you attack this. Reminds me of those t-shirt machines where you put the shirt on a plate and spin it inside a machine while dropping paint. It all goes round and round and comes out looking beautiful.. just like this. :)