Saturday, July 16, 2011


A red barn appears in several of my paintings in different subject matter. The area where I currently reside has several red barns that screamed for me to photograph them! If you visit the areas where I took the photos, you may not see the barns existing in the settings I chose to paint them, as my imagination tends to take over. Several of my photos that I base my paintings on, other than that of the red barns, are used for sources .

I have viewed barns in green, many white, but red seems to be the "thing"-especially in the old restored barns here in Central new Jersey. I learned a few very interesting things about why there are so many red barns.

Centuries ago, European farmers would paint their barns with a linseed-oil mixture, often consisting of additions such as milk and lime. The combination produced a long-lasting paint that dried and hardened quickly. Wealthy farmers added blood from a recent slaughter, or rust to their paint mixture.
In historically accurate terms, "barn red" is not the bright, fire-engine red that we often see today, but more of a burnt-orange red. As to how the oil mixture became traditionally red, there are two  theories:

Regardless of how the farmer tinted his paint, having a red barn became fashionable. They were a contrast to the traditional white farmhouse.

As European settlers crossed over to America, they brought with them the tradition of red barns. In the mid to late 1800s, red paint was the most inexpensive to buy. When whitewash became cheaper, at which point white barns began to spring up.

Here are my paintings where the red barn inspired me:

1. "Observing the Pond"---This barn painting was combined with a scene I observed at a park, where a beautiful Blue Heron was "observing the Pond" hoping for a meal. The barn was from another location, but I imagined them together, and created this serene painting.

2. "Somewhere, Not Here, a Red Barn"--close by my house is a farm dating from the 1700's where stands this red barn. The mountains come from my memory of my travels from yet another place. The plants are unusual and unreal, giving this painting a surreal feeling.

3. "Taking Over"--a view from my window, that is not really there.....the table and the easel are real, but the plant is not.

4. "One Behind the Other"--During this past winter, I photographed the aftermath of the blizzard that was practically up to my waist in the early morning. I obtained the lighting of the sky and snow from that photo taken right outside my front door. The barns come from a place so very far away.

Observing the Pond
Somewhere ,Not Here, A Red Barn
Taking Over
One Behind the Other

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Looking forward to your responses.

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