Used to be Bigger, 2007, Oil on Panel, 18x24
I have been playing around with some alterations to the barn imagery. It began with an aerial photograph of our property that hangs in our kitchen and which I look at often, enjoying the history of our property.
It was taken in the fifties or so, back when this was a real working farm. The photo was given to us by Clyde, who grew up in this house and who now lives about a mile down the road. As you can see, the barns in the photo are pretty extensive, however now, only one piece of that whole structure is still standing. The other structures are long gone and a newer silo is now standing next to the remaining barn. But in the last few months I have become enamored with the "ghosts" of the barns in our community that I see everyday. I've gradually been looking through my barn reference photos with a new eye, imaging what may have once been there. And since I alter so much of the reference that I work from, it hasn't been a big stretch to also imagine what might have been surrounding the structures that I like to paint.
So I have been occasionally adding scratched in barns or houses, clunky additions, and structural elements to some of my barn paintings, portraying what may have been, what is and what could be there as well. This is the first one I did and while not a barn, it was an encouraging start. I have been pleased with the continued results, and several of these pieces, including the one above, will be included in my upcoming show at Boxheart Gallery in Pittsburgh. The scratched in "ghost" elements are actually very subtle and the challenge is to get the painting and composition to work, whether one can see the additional elements or not. That takes a bit more planning than I am used to doing, but I am enjoying the challenge.