Observing my world and a barn painting

Oil painting, Barn on a Sunny Day by Bridgette Guerzon Mills
Bridgette Guerzon Mills | Barn On A Sunny Day, oil on canvas, 20×16 inches

Back in January I did a small gouache painting of this same scene on paper and I thought to myself, I’d like to ty this bigger and in either oil or acrylic. And so a few weeks ago I cleared off my studio table, laid out my tube of paints and went at it.

I finished this about a week ago. And when I photographed it and processed the image to save to my files, I paused for a long time as I couldn’t come up with a title. I have no problem coming up with poetic titles for my mixed media pieces, but with my straight up landscape paintings, I’m like “Field”. Or in this case, “Barn on a Sunny Day”. ha! I think the difference in these titles reflects the different parts of my brain that I use for these two very different creative processes that come into play.

While my oil painting may take longer because of drying time, etc. I feel like my mixed media paintings take a lot of time in terms of pondering, moving things around, thinking metaphorically, fretting about composition, making marks, layer, layer and layer. With my landscape paintings, I am observing a scene before me and painting what I see. Look, mix colors, paint. Not that that is easy….but it’s less complicated, or rather, it’s more straight forward. And so my titles are pretty much what I’m observing in front of my eyes. And in this case, it was a white barn that had the midday sun beaming down on it. I remember that day very well and how I loved the shapes that the bright light and deep shadows created.

The funny thing was that I was with a group of people- moms with their daughters and we were doing a nature hike at that park. I left the group quietly because I was entranced by this barn with its dynamic shadows and the bright green grass behind it. The group went merrily along chatting away and I was like- how does no one notice this and not see how beautiful and striking this plain old barn is?

But I guess that is my obsession in this life. Observing the world and being struck by a moment, a color combination, a feeling, and then needing to create something from it. To document that it existed. And that I witnessed it. Then sharing that feeling with someone else. I can’t imagine not having this obsession. I think that I wouldn’t be me.

“Paying attention to the world around you will help you develop the extraordinary capacity to look at mundane things and see the miraculous.” -Michael Michalko

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