Friday, May 29, 2009


Finally after many more hours of work, the painting is about finished. There are still a few small areas here and there that I'll probably do some work to and I want to also work on the foreground a little. As mentioned earlier, this one really took much longer than expected. One area I struggled with was in the lower doorway. Initially I wanted to include a landscape that you could see through the open holes on the other side of the barn (see last post). But this really didn't work out for a number of reasons. I was a bit unsure exactly how to proceed with this area right from the start and this held up the painting significantly. After some thought, I first cut out some paper shapes to match those of the holes in the rear wall. This way I could get a general idea how things would look without permanently putting in something that I wished I had not. A few different landscapes were then painted on the shapes and attached to the painting in turn. The landscapes themselves were fine but when added to the painting, they distracted too much from the overall work. And it didn't seem to matter what I put in there, the eye went straight to that point which was really not what I wanted. To me, the painting is about the light and shadows on the side of the barn and the old bucket on the second floor. Anything else would be a distraction so I decided to fill in the broken out parts with boards. There is still a hint of things behind the barn but this I felt was a much better way to go. Often a simple direct statement is better than too many points of interest. Anyway, I was happy at last and glad to see it finished (for now anyway). I still don't think that I have exhausted this subject in any form and have a number of ideas that I still want to try. Abandoned Barn - Afternoon Sun II is 30" X 22".

Friday, May 15, 2009


A step further on now and I have mostly concerned myself with a series of washes to define the boards and the rusty roof. I have also used quite a bit of drybrush technique for added texture etc. Darkening the shadows has also helped too and quite a bit of time was spent working on the old bucket as it was to be the focal point. The shadow of the handle that falls across the side of the bucket was very carefully put in and I also defined the shadow on the lower edge of the handle itself to help it stand out against the side. A very subtle green was added to the bottoms of the lower boards to represent weather staining and rot but I may make this a bit stronger as the painting doesn't have much colour. Not that this is a bad thing but I'll finish the ground first and then see how it looks. To get to this point it has taken me the better part of a month! On reflection, I'm not sure why it has taken me so long. Admittedly, there has been time spent away from the painting working on other things and I have also spent quite a bit of time simply looking at it deciding where to go with it next. I'm still not totally happy with the shadow areas inside the doors as the view here is different from the earlier version and you can see where the boards have broken away from the far side allowing a peek right through. So more time will have to be taken to hopefully come to some sort of decision about that. Still, so far I feel it is going along the path I wanted for it and hopefully I'll get it finished soon.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


After reviewing my studies and a few reference photos, I decided to do a larger watercolor of the barn as mentioned in my last blog. First I carefully drew the basic image in pencil onto a large sheet of Arches watercolor paper. I decided on a T-shaped composition and made sure to accurately capture the slight lean of the two doors along with the correct perspective of the roof line. Dark washes were then applied to represent the shadowed interior then I washed a mix of blue and Burnt Sienna onto the roof. Then washes of Sepia were applied to the shadow area at the top and also to the barn walls trying to create interest and texture. This was cooled slightly with a little blue and put aside to dry. I then started to add details to the area around the old bucket on the second floor and Burnt Umber was washed on the inside to add warmth and also for the sunlit areas on the far walls. It seemed like a fair start so far, next more details and some tricky decisions.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


After the last heavy snowstorm a few months ago, I hiked down to this nearby barn to see how it looked in the snow as this was to be a new experience for me. Fortunately not that much had changed and I was very happy to see that the barn was still standing! After studying the structure from different angles outside, I went inside and immediately was taken by the quality of light streaming through not just the doors but also through the many cracks and holes between the boards of the exterior. This study was completed from the inside looking out through the smaller front entrance. I used just a few colours trying to capture some of the reflected light as well as the strong swath of sunlight on the damaged and uneven floor. This painting has set the scene for a number of interiors of this barn that I plan to do but more importantly, has renewed my interest in doing another larger painting of the exterior. I'll show you that one next time. This small oil is 8" X 5".