Red Barn

oil painting of a red barn and two trees
Bridgette Guerzon Mills | Red Barn, oil, 20×10 inches, available here

The month of September had me in front of my easel with my oil paints on my studio table as I was working on a commission of a a wild grass scene out in the Pacific Northwest. This is obviously not a wild grass scene out in the PNW, in fact, the exact opposite! I saw this red barn out here in Baltimore County over the summer and snapped a photo of it.

The trees, treeline, bushes, and grass were mainly painted with the palette knife. I just love to lay down the paint like I’m spreading butter on toast. I really love abstracted contemporary landscapes where the artists do that. Whenever posts by Jivan Lee or Lise Temple pop up in my feed on Instagram, I think my heart skips a beat. I also really admire the way my friend Deena Margolis handles paint. She usually paint in gouache, but lately she has been doing oil paintings and I just love them. I love gouache too, but oils just have that substance to them.

Anyway, this painting started out as a contradiction to the commission painting which has more detailed brushwork. At the end of my painting sessions with the commission I would switch from my tiny brushes to my palette knife and just lay down color and shape. Below detail shot was taken at the beginning of this painting. I really like the looseness.

detail of a painting made with palette knife
detail at the beginning of creating this painting

As the painting developed in later sessions, the painting became more controlled…I am happy with the painting, but I think my aim is for somewhere in between. Hmmmm. I learn something from every painting. Each one is its own journey.

“I love your trees, mom, they are scrumdidaleeumptious”- my 12 year old when she came home from school and was looking over my painting. I also like that tree in the foreground. I was still able to hold on to that looseness of the palette knife and brush, but still conveying the form of the tree. Hmmmm….

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