This Old Barn

Cheap Joe's Artist Tip: This Old Barn
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Barn Graphic 1 Barn Graphic 2

I've painted this old barn many times, each time for a different reason. This time I'll go from photo to sketch and work from the sketch. It's a simple subject, and I treat it loose and simple.

I'll place the design on the paper (Kilimanjaro #140 C/P) with a light touch of watercolor and no detail, not yet. Just the shape of the overall design.

Now, let's make a neutral and lay it in the large shapes - we'll drop some color in here and there while the area is still wet. Don't worry about the drips; we'll do something with them - they'll add to the looseness and freedom of the painting.

This style of painting is for those who want to become loose, those painters aspiring to or looking for more freedom, more internal expression, pushing your emotions - your feeling for the subject. To accomplish this you've got to adjust your thinking - look at things differently. Remember: "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change." Let's paint the essence of what we see. Stop picking - get away from those small brushes - think big - BIG BIG BIG! Big shapes, big brushes, big strokes, big mess.

Barn Graphic 3 Barn Graphic 4

Now, while this neutral is wet let's drop in some ultramarine blue - oooh, look at that - some permanent rose and a few other things. Let's slip in a wash of sap green and raw sienna.

Now to the rest. Let's mix everything together that we already have on our palette. With a 2" muslin, starting at the top of the roof, bring the neutral mix down in single strokes, and be sure to catch the edges of each stroke while they're wet. Vary the values from one side of the mass to the other.

Pop some warms into the silo - a stroke of clean water along the edge of the Indian yellow will lighten the value and draw the color toward the light.

Barn Graphic 5 Barn Graphic 6

Add some darks now between the silo and the barn under the roofline (see how it gives the structure volume) and indicate the openings in the barn. Royal Amethyst is what I use, adding a few other colors for interest and - Bingo! - You've got it.

Some calligraphy to taste - indicate some vegetation and anchor the structure with a few well-placed strokes. Some palette gray in the foreground and - Double bingo!

Barn Graphic 7 Barn Graphic 8

When the painting is dry we'll glaze a cool neutral over the barn and silo to lower the brightness and - Triple bingo! - We have an old tried weathered structure. I've used all American Journey Watercolors and they work great.

- Chuck McLachlan

Chuck McLachlan

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