The glee of children’s laughter at play is long gone here, along with the sounds of men stacking hay and feeding cattle, but this weathered barn still stands — now a rarity in town — and its picture brings back cherished memories for old and young alike.
One day as I was admiring the extensive collection of original paintings hanging in our community library, I had the thought that I would like to have one of my paintings hanging among them.
As a relative newcomer to the painting fraternity, it took me awhile to get my nerve up to ask, but after a couple of return trips to the library, I inquired of one of the librarians if they were still adding paintings to their collection. She said they were always on the lookout for additions, but that other librarians would have to look at any proposed art to be sure it was of sufficient quality and to determine if it the subject matter was appropriate for public display. When I told her I had been admiring a local barn to paint — she encouraged me to bring the finished painting by and she’d be happy to have it reviewed.
While driving around the community, where I had lived for a relatively short time, I soon realized that the aging, weathered barn I admired was one of only a handful still standing in the town. All the others had succumbed to residential and commercial development. Where orchards and corrals and barns had once stood, housing subdivisions and mini-malls filled the space. So, because of its rarity and its reflection of the earlier history of the community, the barn I had found was possibly artistically noteworthy — and hopefully would be acceptable to the local librarians.
As my wife has frequently noted, I have always liked old barns. There’s something of character in their bleached and splintered exteriors, and just looking at them brings to mind the activities — both of playful fun and hard labor — that went on there in years past. Recollection of the sights and sounds of that varied activity motivated me to paint the old barn. To me, it was a labor of love and a renewal of history.
And I am happy to say that the painting of that rare barn apparently struck a chord of nostalgia with the librarians because it has now been hanging in the library for a handful of years.