PICTURES: Oil painter captures 60s harvest

Painter Steven Binks paints everything from portraits to landscapes, but it is his farming scenes that have gained the most loyal following.

His most successful painting to date is “60s Harvest”. Painted on canvas in 1997 it depicts the Clark family from Saffron Walden enjoying a family picnic beside their Massey Ferguson 780 combine. Every detail, from the Fordson Super Dexta tractor right down to the grandfather’s jauntily angled straw hat is meticulously recorded. Be it 1967 or 1997, it is a moment of family and agricultural history perfectly preserved in oil.

The picture sold at Cheffins Vintage Tractor Auction in Cambridge for a four-figure sum and was made into a sellout limited edition of 500 prints.

The nostalgic appeal of that family harvest scene continues today. Steven has just put the finishing touches to two commissions inspired by the original “60s Harvest”. One client wanted the same image, but to replace the Clarks with his family for and the Blue Fordson with a grey Fergie. The result is “Harvest 65”.

Another client wanted to recall his teenage memories of driving his first car, an already vintage 1936 Morris 8 Tourer, around the family farm in the 1950s. Working from “a jigsaw” of photos of his combine and tractor and using a local lad to pose as the young man, Steven set up “Beer and Barley” as if the Morris 8 has just pulled up with a crate of beer to share with the harvesters.

The painting is a rich mix of memory, men and machines. “I think these images strike a chord because of the connections so many of us have with farming,” Steven muses., 01787 228105

  • 60s harvest
    Original ’60s Harvest’ picture
  • Harvest 65 scene
    Setting up the ‘Harvest 65’ scene
  • Harvest 65
    The finished version of ‘Harvest 65’
  • beer and barley
    ‘Beer and Barley’ painting
  • massey
    Massey Ferguson 780 – still working in 2012

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