Sunday, July 26, 2009

Anderson Barn in Winter

Do you ever wish you could go back in time and see the places and things that your grandparents and great-grandparents saw? Maybe it's just the history major in me, or the fact that I used to get to work on old buildings, but seeing old barns, farmhouses and buildings makes me wonder about the things they saw and the nuisances of everyday life that I think are completely gone from today's reality.

The painting that I call "Anderson Barn in Winter" is an example of my desire to see things as they were. This barn was in my mom's family a few generations back, and is unfortunately no longer standing. All that's left is a little 3" x 5" black and white photo that was taken of it many years ago. Every time I see that photo it fascinates me. The style of barn, the setting, imagining what it would have been like to have seen that barn every day.

A few years ago, I painted this barn and the outbuilding near it, just as the photograph depicted (or as well as I could see it). I liked that painting, but still felt that something was missing. After dreaming of the barn one night in winter, I decided to paint it sitting in the snow. A wintry scene was all I could think of. And an image of my great-great-grandfather's footsteps in the snow were all I could see. I could feel the sharp intake of air that you get on a chilly wintry morning when you're outside. I remembered the feelings I've had of being outside by myself on a snowy mornings when everything is so calm and still. I wanted to put all of that into this painting.

So, instead of painting exactly what I thought I saw in the photograph, I painted what I felt and wanted to see in it also. And once I finally completed it, I felt almost as if I had been there walking with him. So, that's the story behind "Anderson Barn in Winter". I enjoy painting commission paintings, but sometimes I have to paint images just for myself.