This past summer, on our annual trip to Ohio, we spent a day driving northeast of Mount Vernon, into Amish country. We stopped at a store along the roadside, and while the others browsed inside, I crossed the road, leaned on a fence, and took several shots of this old barn. From a distance, Amish farms look very clean and pristine. Up close, not so much. They are, after all, working farms, not showplaces.
This barn, with its patterns of fading white paint, a hodgepodge of openings with fences, gates, and even a half door that didn’t seem to cover anything, along with the dirt surrounding it, spoke of daily activity that had nothing to do with aesthetics. And it whispered of several generations of family members who had passed through those gates and doorways going about their assigned chores. Out of the picture, a huge draft horse stood regally in an adjoining pasture, waiting to be called to duty.
The color variations on the wood, and the textures in this scene called out to me. I may have overdone it just a tad, but I found myself caught up in the scene as I painted it, daydreaming my own footprints in the dirt, and listening for the sounds that a barn this size must surely make.