It was a grey day, no sun, flat atmosphere. I started this piece plein air during a workshop I took here a short while ago and finished it in the studio.
“Southgate Plantation” 10X12 oil on panel
There was a moment or two of brighter light coming from the right as the weather front lifted a bit. Not having sharp contrast from strong sun, makes for a flat scene which it was for most of the day.
I’m pretty pleased with the mill and the tree on the right.
These impressive structures, some 150 remaining ones on St.Croix, are reminders of the history of sugar cane. Going back over 300 years to the early Dutch settlers, it’s hard not to feel ambivelance at the conditions under which slaves were deployed to keep production at peak levels, while recognizing how hot it was. As stories are passed along, it was noted that as the crushers inside these mills squeezed every drop of cane juice out of the stalks, there was on site, a person whose job was to release by use of machete, any unfortunate workers arm that did not release from the grinding wheels in a timely manner.
Some interesting reading about the full history of St Croix when ” sugar was King ” courtesy of the Landmark Society here:
And a photo and short story of a mill from todays’ time here:
And a P.S.- fellow St. Croix resident, blogger friend, and creative digital photographer Don Diddams, coincidentally posted a strong image and similar sentiments on his blog today. Have a look here and at the body of his work.
Nothing was plein about the air this morning- a rainbow popped into an otherwise dark, looming, overcast sky. Just enough of a snippet of light from somewhere to form a fleeting prism in the sky.