Thursday, March 16, 2006

Life as a Barn

Lemon Yellow Barn, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20

This is an image of my latest barn. I used lemon yellow mostly because I recently bought a tube of it and have tried to use it in nearly every painting ever since. With various levels of success, of course. I think it's pretty effective here and I will probably send this painting off to my new gallery.

At first, I was unsure about including barns in my paintings. I worried that by painting barns, my work would be labeled hokey, cliched, country. A terrible fate! But I had done a number of landscapes and really felt that I wanted to add structures. Barns seemed a logical choice especially since this is what I see when I look out my front door:

Barns are everywhere here in upstate NY. Unfortunately they are slowly disappearing, due to a variety of reasons. Farms are declining in number and (as Doug and I know personally) it can be really expensive to keep a barn in good enough repair to just keep it standing. I wouldn't say that I paint barns in order to keep a record of the fading American countryside, however I am so glad that there are those who are doing that in their work, whether it's by painting or photography. I think I like barns because of the link they provide to the past. Barns were strong and sturdy, and full of personality, built in a simpler but not easier time, a man made continuation of the natural landscape. I appreciate all of those elements.

Of course, that's where the realism ends for me. I tend to interpret the classic earthy barn colors as bright pink, yellow, lime green or purple. I eliminate windows, doors and clunky additions. Farm machinery disappears, background tree lines are added. What I do keep is the solidness, the connection to the land around it and most importantly, the simple and useful structure.

Kind of the way life should be, huh?

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