Local Color (A Painting of a Place Near My House)

                                                          Ochre; oils on canvas, 24” x 36”, © Rose Guastella 2016

Running along the not-much-used side entrance to our local Walmart is a chain-link fence. Behind the fence is a little driveway and the property pictured in the painting I just finished. I like that entrance to the parking lot because it always has less traffic, and if I *must* go to Walmart, I want in and out as quickly as possible. Besides, I always love looking at the old barn and the manufactured house it sits next to.

It looks abandoned but I'm not really sure. At night, there is a single light coming from inside the house. No cars or trucks are ever parked there, though. The deferred maintenance is obvious but not unusual for the area.  

One day not too long ago, the BLP was driving and we were heading to the store together, so I was able to snap a few pictures of the property on the way in. The light was oddly yellow, as it can be in the early fall and late on a cloudy afternoon. The grass and moss on the roof were relatively bright- this time of year, both are usually very vibrant everywhere. It's the cool, damp weather they seem to love. 

The colors just seemed to go with the feel of the house and barn, as does the title. (Thanks, alsoknownas.)

There is a dignity to ancient and decrepit barns, as they ever-so-slowly move toward collapse. They are fragile and beautiful, like the very oldest members of our families. We need to be careful with them.

There is a gorgeous old barn in another community North of me, that I have been watching and photographing for about 8 years now. It used to be red, and stood proudly in a little valley between some foothills of the Olympic Mountains. It's a very long barn. it started out just slightly dipped in the middle of the roof, and became more and more sway-backed as the years went on. The last time I saw it, there had been a considerable collapse- but the rest of it still stands, as does the glorious white farmhouse set close to the road. I would love to paint that scene, too.

The barn in this picture is just starting that process. I may wait a few years and paint it again, as long as no one comes along and dismantles it.

At 24" x 36", this is the largest painting I've done in probably 30 years. I found a frame at Goodwill that fits. It required a little renewal- it's oak, structurally sound, and needed cleaning, sanding and painting. I'm at the last steps now, black enamel paint. The painting itself isn't dry enough to frame and hang yet.

Views: 189

Comment by Rosigami on December 12, 2016 at 4:52pm

nerd cred, thank you. It's what I was going for, so I'm glad you see it that way. 

As for the frame, yes! - the one I found had a poster of hot peppers. It's okay for the painting at least temporarily so we can hang it. (and I can switch out the photo once I do) I really enjoy the search for old frames and restoring them. I would like something a little wider and fancier for this piece. I'll know it when I see it.

Comment by nerd cred on December 12, 2016 at 5:32pm

Big, gaudy, gilded? :-)

Comment by Rosigami on December 12, 2016 at 5:34pm

Yes indeed!

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 12, 2016 at 7:16pm

I would have never guessed that a Walmart was anywhere near.  This would be my favorite entrance, too.

There is something slightly unsettling about the house.  I think it is related to the windows.  I always wonder what the interior floor plan is that necessitates a given window arrangement.  Is it vacant, or isn't it.  It's unsettling which contrasts with the comfort of the old barn and the beautiful evergreens. 

Comment by Rosigami on December 12, 2016 at 8:59pm

I think the contrast between the two buildings is what prompted me to want to paint them, Rod. It's also why I would love to find a nice big gilded frame for this simple scene. I think it would work.
Thank you for noting the unsettled feeling in the picture. I don't know if it's occupied or vacant. For that reason, I've been hesitant to post the image in our local FB page. 
That uneasy sense in the image is probably what makes it a little more interesting than something idyllic and bland- to me, anyway. People see what they see, after all.

Comment by alsoknownas on December 13, 2016 at 7:13am

Hey...looks good here. I've been painting too...friend's mom's house.

Glad you posted and thanks for the nod for the title, "Ochre".

Comment by Rosigami on December 13, 2016 at 8:00am

Thanks, alsoknownas. 

Comment by Anna Herrington on December 14, 2016 at 10:22am

Nice! The juxtaposition of old barn in there is lovely. The coloring is eery. I remember that 'air' from living in Olympia, a certain time of day and conditions... beautiful country. Haven't ever seen that yellowish atmosphere down here. Too far in mountains, too far from coast, maybe... or it's been copyrighted, 'Washington' yellow...  : )

I spent the last two years of our living in Georgia driving all over old country roads in Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, photographing old barns, old country stores, old mills.... used to drive 45 minutes from home just to go to one little store, sold homemade kudzu jelly. Love it!! Loved the creaky old floors in the store, wavy glass in panes, fading old advertisements painted on siding.... that world is disappearing so fast.

Back to the kudzu jelly... it's like nothing else and perfectly clear. I've been missing that, lately... I stocked up on jelly from this little store on my last visit there, then the next day my next door neighbor there gave me tons she'd made. Right next door! ha! She'd been making it all along and wondering what to do with it all. I lost her recipe.... and now live so far from kudzu it doesn't matter... a relief and a sorrow, mixed.

Thanks for the remembering, this morning, and for sharing your art.

I'd kind of forgotten about that year of driving all around, camera in hand....

Comment by Rosigami on December 14, 2016 at 11:52am

Monkey, what a wonderful thing to hear. It makes me want to paint more more more. Thank you.

Comment by Rosigami on December 14, 2016 at 12:01pm

Anna, I don't know what causes the yellow light here, either. But I sure do love it. Back on Long Island, in the time right before and during a big thunderstorm, the light would get weird and greenish. I loved opening up the garage door, getting a lawn chair, and staying dry while the lightning and thunder flashed and boomed and the wind howled outside. Once I watched a bolt split a tree down the road from me in one of those storms.

I know what you man about those old stores. When I was a little girl there were still a few out on the East End of the island. Most are gone now. Except for an old village restoration that functions mostly as an example of how a Long Island rural farm was run in the 18th century, there is still at least one former country store that remains as a sort of museum that sells geegaws to tourists.  Arghhhhhh.

Kudzu jelly! What a thing. I'm intrigued!


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