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Pheasants At Dusk By Robert Bateman

By Robert Bateman

The building in Pheasants at Dusk was a former cheese factory, until vandals burned it down a few years ago. The factory itself had closed because of competition from a large monopoly. With it died one example of a particularly vital form of economic democracy - the farmersí cooperative. This was where my grandfather and his neighbors took their milk to be made into cheese. You can see the curving drive and part of the covering over the loading platform where Grandad would have pulled up his horse-drawn wagon. The split rail fence comes at you into the foreground - almost landing in your lap - then leads you back into the picture and toward the male pheasant in flight. The pheasant provides a hint of opulence in an otherwise stark, late-autumnal scene, perhaps a faint reminder of summer. Brought over by settlers from the British Isles as a game bird, the pheasant has survived better than my grandfatherís way of life, although its numbers have declined drastically in the last ten years. I really enjoy painting its rich tapestry of feathers. I donít think the human imagination could devise a more surprising or pleasing visual combination. - Robert Bateman

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