Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Red Barn at Sunset

How does an artist control the viewer's eye movement when looking at her paintings?

This is a barn we discovered while driving through a neighboring Northwest Arkansas county. It was actually near the highway (not in a lovely field with trees and a country road.) It was a working barn... What were my clues to that? First -a metal horse fence. Second - the strong scent fresh manure. Finally - three angry guineas ran out the door and chased me back into the car after just a few photographs.  

I learned - no, not learned, began to understand or at least think about - something while working on this painting.  When searching for a setting for this great old barn, I found something that I liked and thought it would be perfect with some modifications to make it mine.   The inspiration image had a great old barn with a fence, road, and tree in front of it.  But it didn't quite work for my barn, so I flipped it - made a mirror image.  But somehow, mine became a great big old tree with a fence, road, and barn behind it.  
The focus completely shifted... and with neither my intention nor my permission!
That weekend, I got my first installment of  Weekly Painting Tips from Daniel.  The short video was about this same idea!  I am very interested in learning to be in control of this, but for now... I think I'm still just surprised every time I paint something and it actually looks like what it's supposed to.

In case you wondered if my story of photographing the barn was true... These are the mean old guineas that chased me.


  1. Thanks! You did a great job on the painting!...Daniel

  2. This is such a wonderful piece, Helen!! It's so rare to see a working farm! Honestly, that would make my day. Love this painting..I love the rich colors you used ..the sky...and the light..perfect!