Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nature heals, nature destroys

Boyer's Old Barn

Life's been busy and stressful for me lately, and getting out in the openness and quiet of nature is my best healer.  I found this old barn recently, and knew that nature would have its way with it before long.  Each time I go by, I expect it to have collapsed entirely.  Bits of the weathered tin roof have blown away, the lean-to is collapsing as a result of age and rain and who knows what else.  The tree beside it is invading, becoming part of the building itself.

Like many other functional old farm buildings, it will fall to the earth and nourish it until it becomes part of the soil itself.  My 7 years of farm life gave me a new appreciation for these old buildings...I used to love to sit in my barn door on a rainy day, looking out onto the pasture and listen to the homely, domestic sounds of my goats and chickens, feeling part of the timeless cycle.

It's more difficult to capture that peaceful feeling sitting in front of a computer...

At Boyer's barn

I bound a few sheets of tan Nideggan paper into my journal this time, and decided to experiment again with a small gouache kit. J. had a little Cotman watercolor kit he no longer used, so I popped the pans out and filled the wells with gouache from a tube. I think it's going to be fun!

I'm considering adding a few soybeans where the little palette is in this picture...that's the lovely tawny raw sienna in front of the barn, the last of the beans awaiting harvest.


  1. There's something earthy and precious about old barns and other farm structures. They mystified me as a small child on a farm; I still remember their rich smells.

    You capture this so perfectly! No wonder the first painting I bought from you was a barn!

  2. Fantastic sketch, and thanks for sharing the details on your materials.

  3. I love this sketch, the effect of the paper and what a surprise that you are using qouache. Barns are soothing places for me as well. I both grew up with one and enjoyed one of my own for a number of years...a peaceful shelter in the outdoors where so many fun things happen.

  4. Thanks, all...and yes, exactly, Vickie! I used to sit in mine and my baby goats would come drape themselves over my lap!


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