Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Original Four Seasons of Tobacco

Many years ago I saw a brochure featuring a group of drawings or paintings called "The Twelve Months of Tobacco."  The artist, Toss Chandler, was commissioned by Philip Morris, Inc. to depict the tasks necessary to raise a crop of tobacco from planning it in January to selling it in December.  I looked for prints of the series but never found them, so when I first started painting, I decided to try to paint something similar. Not wanting to do twelve paintings, I cut it down to the "four seasons of tobacco."

"The Four Seasons of Tobacco"
four 16x20 oil on canvas
Over the years as my skill as an artist has improved, I have repainted the series and even added a fifth painting. However, the painting below has only been retouched. There is a reason for that... 

"Tobacco Auction"
16x20 oil on canvas

At the time I painted the tobacco auction, I was taking art lessons from a wonderful portrait painter. She commands portrait fees in the four and five figure category, depending on the size of her finished work. The auction painting was the first time I'd tried to paint faces; they're so difficult! My teacher felt sorry for me and offered to paint Pa's face so it would actually look like him. She did a beautiful job! I was so excited to show it to Pa. I had a painting that was partially done by a master portrait artist!

He took one look at the painting and said, "My chin doesn't really look that bad, does it? Take it back and ask her to fix my chin!" So there I was, taking a portrait that my teacher had painted for free back to a portrait painter who gets big bucks for her work!

When I told her what Pa had said, she laughed. "Men are so vain!" she said as she made him look ten years younger. Pa was one happy man! And needless to say, I'm not going to attempt to repaint that one until I, too, become a master portrait artist... and I don't see that happening anytime soon!

In these posts, you can see the four paintings I painted recently, replacing three of those above, and read about the process of growing burley. To learn more about how tobacco was sold, click the last link.


  1. I love that you had to take it back for a re-touch...for free!!
    It's a wonderful thing to have a gift such as yours, Peg. I would love to be able to do what you do - those paintings are surely going to be heirlooms for your children.

  2. These are so neat!

    You are have amazing skill Miss Peg!