November 9, 2014

John Cleaveland’s “Farmington Skies” Open Up

John Cleaveland in front of some of his Farmington Skies paintings..JPG

Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

John Cleaveland and some of his paintings in "Farmington Skies"

An opening for “Farmington Skies,” a series of landscape paintings by John Cleaveland, took place at Farmington Depot Gallery this past Friday night and drew a large crowd. With their rural scenes and emphasis on natural textures and muted colors, the works seemed particularly well-suited for the unfinished board walls of the old train station turned gallery.

Detail of Falling Leaves Freeman Creek Road by John Cleaveland.JPG

Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

Detail of "Falling Leaves" by John Cleaveland

The works all depict scenes of rural roads and fields that are located within about 300 yards of the artist’s residence in Farmington. Most of the small-scale oils emphasize varying qualities of atmosphere and light within the landscapes. Telephone poles create lines and contrast within many of the works.

Painter Scott Belville visits with Cleaveland at the opening.JPG

Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

Painter Scott Belville visits with Cleaveland at the opening

Cleaveland was clearly enthusiastic about the new direction found in these 26 paintings, most of which were created during an intensely productive six-week period.  He started out as a color field painter as a student at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, studying with Art Rosenbaum and others.  While Cleaveland made the shift to landscapes some time ago, these new works are smaller in scale and more focused on atmosphere. Sculptor David Crook said, “With John’s work, it is like you are there. You can really smell the dew on the grass.”

“Farmington Skies” will be on display through December. For more information, visit

Tammy Cleaveland at the opening.JPG

Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

Tammy Cleaveland at the opening