Barns. Rural cathedrals and simple sheds, reminders of a life connected to the land.
It was the type of farming that determined the type of barn that would be built. Log barns, stone foundations, shingled barns, clapboard barns, cribbed barns-painted, unpainted, windowed or windowless. The designs were influenced by local materials and cultural influence. Roofs progressed from thatch to wood shingles , than asphalt and now sheet metal. Walls were often vertically boarded while crib barns and sheds were installed horizontally. A barn might be left unpainted but more often it would be covered in red oxide paint. This paint was common and inexpensive. It was made by the farmer from iron red oxide in the soil, linseed oil from the flax crops and casein from their dairy cattle.
The intrigue of painting barns is witnessed by the number of painters who have chosen them as subject matter. To the painters eye these buildings are first seen as form in space. Then as shadows, light, texture and color. Window and door placement provide decorative design. Proximity and distance to the structure define the barn as either a portrait or as an element in a landscape. Finally the mood is set with color, tone and brushwork.
“Maine Bank Barn” - just off the River Road - is a 36 x 36” oil portrait of a hillside or ‘bank’ barn which has drive in or walk in access on two levels. Crops and equipment stored above and livestock in the basement below. John painted this red barn as a portrait with a brilliant yellow sky.
“All But Forgotten” is a 24 x 36’ oil landscape. A ‘crib’ barn sits amidst old silos, adjacent buildings and a stand of corn. One building has collapsed into itself. There is an old corn elevator parked next to the crib barn. The sky is threatening rain. Lynnes’ field road leads the viewer into the scene.
Other featured paintings range from prominent white barns rendered in layers using a painting knife, low structures and rusty roofed barns done in textural brushwork, and simple sheds painted in softly subdued tones. The exhibit Barns. Rural cathedrals and simple sheds will be on view at Joy To The Wind Gallery for the month of September. The artists, Lynne and John Seitzer have represented a diverse variety of barns some dynamic and others as pleasant reminders of their previous life.
Located at 34 Atlantic Ave., Boothbay Harbor. There is an artist reception on Friday, Sept. 6 from 7-9 p.m. in conjunction with the First Friday Art Tour. All are welcome. Call 633 7025 for more information.