After working out the general composition and sketch for the painting, I began thinking about who would make good models for the painting. Almost immediately the family of one of my co-workers came to mind. I work with Courtney Boone, whose husband and two young sons seemed like the perfect candidates. Costuming and props were all coordinated and organized for me by Tulip Festival Director, Juliana Pennings. We all met on a sunny winter afternoon in a room with large windows in the Northwestern College Learning Commons.
As you might guess, and as you can tell from the photo above, it required a bit of patience and a lot of coaxing to get the boys to pose for any length of time. They did great though, and in the end I was able to utilize the best portions from a handful of the 278 photos we shot! Shown in the photo above (left to right) are my wife, Denise, Ryan, Adam, Cohen and Courtney Boone.
This is one of the early shots. Ryan (5) who is quite a bit taller then his little brother Cohen (2) had no trouble peeking in the bucket. When we started shooting photos with Cohen, I could tell that a smaller child would cause Adam to lean over a little more, which I liked. I also liked the increased angle of the yoke, the buckets being at much different levels and one hand being placed on the yoke while the other was holding a bucket.
I had told Juliana I wanted to use wooden buckets if she could find any. She was pretty relentless in searching for them. The buckets in the photos above are actually plastic buckets that have a wooden appearance. I thought they were pretty good and I could just make them a little bigger in the painting.