I’m Glad That’s Over!

If you’ve followed along on my art journey from the start, you know I don’t do buildings. I don’t do wolves very well, either, but that’s another thing altogether. Let’s stick with buildings today.

I’ve posted many times about my construction problems. My buildings are crooked, comical, lopsided, and laughable. I’ve studied perspective, but I just can’t draw buildings. It turns out that I can’t paint buildings either. But give me credit for trying.

Oh, I tried with this one. Several times. The reference for this sorry-looking painting is from Bill Inman’s Mastering Oil Painting course. His “Stoic Barn” looks great; mine looks rather sad. At least it bears some resemblance to a barn!

Old2 Barn 10-2017

I don’t remember when I started this painting. I spent most of one evening working on it, then stepped back and realized it was hopeless and grabbed for an old rag. Yes, I wiped away everything.

After that, I spent several hours trying to successfully draw a barn on the canvas. I couldn’t get it right. I drew a gigantic barn. Nope. That wouldn’t work. I tried again and it looked so awful, I had to wipe that away, too. Finally, following several more frustrating attempts, I had the outline of a barn I could live with.

For days, the canvas sat untouched. I didn’t have the gumption to go back and try again. All the while, I had this itch to paint and eventually I had to scratch.

Again, I struggled with the old barn. My paint was too thick in places, too thin in others. I couldn’t get the shape quite right, one part was out of proportion to the next. I kept at it, though.

Gradually I began to get something that — from a distance, at least — looked a little like a barn, and from there I plunged onward. Forget about light and shadow, forget about warm and cool colors. I was just glad to have something on the canvas that would pass for a weathered old barn. At that point, I was still only about 1/2-way through the video demonstration. I was also so worn out, I couldn’t do more.

I hurriedly finished up my trees — the colors look much better on the canvas than they do in this photo — and I dabbled in a road of sorts. I stepped back, sighed, and asked my husband to tell me it looked good just so I’d feel better.

It’s not the scene I’d envisioned in my head, but it’s a start at “building buildings” in my paintings. It could be worse. That’s what I’m telling myself.

The biggest problem I faced with this painting wasn’t the barn itself; it was the impatience that came after struggling so much with so many different things. I reached a point where I couldn’t look at the canvas a moment longer. I didn’t want to think about colors. I didn’t want to worry about details or depth. I just wanted to be done.

So, I added in the tiny fence at the left of the barn, breathed a huge sigh of relief, and turned away from the easel. I’m learning. I’m trying new techniques. I’m figuring out how to use brushstrokes, how to mix colors. And eventually I’ll paint a barn I can be proud of it. Until then, all I can say is “Thank goodness, that’s over!”


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