The painting features a complex structure of multicoloured and thin horizontal brush strokes. This element demonstrates Grant Wood’s familiarity with the modernism and art deco era. Grant Wood’s experience inspired Haying during his travels between Iowa City and Lake Macbride. The 12 by 14-inch painting is mounted on a hardboard. Over the years, there have been numerous recompositions of the Grant Wood painting. However, Grant Wood’s original Haying is currently located at the United State’s National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
A description of the painting
Haying is centred on a barn, a staple of the regionalist landscape movement. Barns were a symbol of community and social stability in the American countryside. The painting depicts a hilly hayfield. The field is mowed and racked into patterns known as windrows. The windrows form an interesting yet neat pattern. They are painted in clear curves. The top left corner of the painting features another field with neat green grass. This field is separated from the hayfield by a thin path. The foreground of the painting features a corked jack.
In true Grant Wood style, there are spike leaves throughout the hayfield. A barn and a larger building are at the top of the hilly hayfield. Behind the structures, a few leafy trees extend to the other side of the hill. The painting also features a windmill and a hay holder. The background of the painting features a clear sky.
While riveting, the painting features an overall dull demeanour. Yet, despite the dull demeanour, the painting features a sense of peace and portrays the scene as a homely, effortlessly beautiful, and lovable environment worthy of preservation. However, like most of his paintings, there is more meaning than what meets the eye. Regardless, critics and art enthusiasts have yet to state the intended meaning clearly. Like most of the paintings, Haying focuses on the life of the Midwesterners. This is because of his upbringing on a farm. As a result, this painting portrayed the typical appearance of a midwestern farm.
Haying is a twin composition with New Road. The two paintings were painted a couple of weeks apart while Grant Wood was recovering from a minor operation. Additionally, both paintings were executed in Grant Wood’s precise crosshatched technique. The inspiration for the two paintings is also the same. Like Haying, New Road features undulating surfaces.