Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Old Barn

Acrylic on 9x12 canvas sheet
Available through DPW gallery/auction

My submission to the June Challenge at ADNW blog - this barn was so intriguing to me, I couldn't wait to paint it. The rust on the metal roof (that is peeling up on the edges), the weathered wood slats that lined the outside of the barn, the glimpse into the barn & also through the barn to the background and the foreground grasses -- all of it made my fingers twitch. 

I chose to warm up the barn with some red hues, but did some olive green washes to weather it a bit, especially on the left wall that was in shadow more. I chose a crop that had the barn going off the right side, putting that opening in the prime spot as my focal point. I put my most detail into the building, the roof & slats, and made the shadows under the roof eaves as pronounced as possible. The sky had only a glimpse of clouds cutting across, but blending as well.

My biggest challenge was how to handle the foreground grasses. My first thought was to make them as involved as they were in the photograph. But a class I recently sat in on talked about leaving out the details - sort of a "less is more" approach to busy scenes. Also, if I made the foreground as detailed as the barn, then the grasses would be in competition with the barn for the viewers attention. Instead, I put individual clumps of grass, along with pieces of the grass showing along the barn edges. Then used some washes of the grass color to indicate the lay of the land, and to give a subtle path for the eye to follow up to the barn entrance. 

I like this painting & how it turned out. This was one of those paint-in-one-session paintings, where I work it from start to finish in one sitting. Probably because I love the subject so much - a barn (or any other old, outbuilding) captivates me, even when traveling. It always catches my eye as we drive past, and often I have to turn around to go back & take a photo. My husband has learned, whenever we pass an old barn - even before I can say anything, he will ask "you wanna go back?" 


CrimsonLeaves said...

I can see why you couldn't wait to paint this one, Nancie. It really is a wonderful scene. I love how you handled those foreground grasses, your thoughts spot on. The barn itself is exquisite. I see so many similar barns out here. I often wonder why the owners have left them standing. It is always funny to me to see one standing at an extreme slant, as if one leaned against it, the whole thing would collapse. Yet still they stand.

Virginia Floyd said...

I love this one, Nancie! The light on the roof against the shadows and darks is striking. And the view of the dark interior with the light visible out the other side invites you to come in out of the heat to the coolness inside. I really enjoyed reading about your process. I think the foreground grasses are well done. It has a water color feel to me.

renate said...

Hai Nancy:) Love your old barn! Great job. Have you seen the others? They are great too! See you around!:)


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