I have always been fascinated by old, worn out barns. While some may be on the verge of collapse, they still exude great character. In fact, the closer they are to total failure, the more interesting they are. I think my fascination began as a small child during my family's annual visit to my grandparents home in North Carolina. They were an austere couple to be sure. Their house was small, listing to one side a bit, and very rustic. There was no electricity, no running water, and no means of heat other than a monstrous wood stove perched in the center of their house. I still remember the first time my older brother dared me to touch the darn thing, and I of course took the challenge. I only needed to fall for that once.
Behind the small house sat a collection of out buildings, typical of the assortment you find on rural farms. I was interested in them all, but the two story barn was my absolute favorite. Even back then it was already a rickety collection of gray wood, spider webs, and pungent aromas from all the animals that had called the place home over the years. Playing inside that old structure was like going to an amusement park for me. I could climb and plunge into mountains of hay. I could corner and terrorize mice and snakes. I could grab any implement I was strong enough to hoist and pretend I was fighting pirates and assorted other enemies. I could do all sorts of things, but without question the thing I enjoyed most was the dirt factor. I could (and did) get filthy dirty rolling around in there. There really wasn't anything else for a young boy to do, so I tended to spend the majority of my day in and around the old barn.
Now, fifty years later, I am still fascinated by old barns. I just like looking at them. Often while I'm in the car, I'll pull over and just take in the view of an old barn that has all the right decay and lean. I'll take a picture or two just for myself. I don't trespass but I merely admire from a distance. This is what inspired the black and white barn sketches I do today. In my travels across Virginia I keep a watchful eye out and, if safe, I pull the car over and take a few quick photos of character rich barns. I hope to cover the entire state and maybe even neighboring states and find a barn to represent all of these rural anchors that many of us grew up around. Please check out the "Barns of Virginia" prints available at oldsouthart.com. And keep checking back for new additions.
As Old South Art continues to grow and evolve, I am meeting more and more folks through my work. These people are from varied walks of life. I've been fortunate enough to have some of my work displayed in galleries as a result of winning contests. The people I meet there are kind, interesting, and usually from a background different from my own. I also have made new friends at shows, where my work is displayed and sold. No matter where I am, I keep hearing the same question over and over. People ask what I use for inspiration in my artwork. The truth is I use many different things to help form an idea for new work. It can be an actual sighting of an old building, a moment with a favorite pet, watching a bird soar overhead, etc. That list goes on and on. Or the motivation can come from a string of memories formed by a life lived in the South. To answer in a more specific way, I will from time to time publish brief blog posts that share the thought behind a piece of work or a collection of work. I hope to stir some thought and maybe even some feedback in the form of suggestions for future projects. Again, these will be brief and only occasionally posted. I'm not looking to bury people in unnecessary ramblings. Please keep an eye out for these and share your comments. Thanks.
Old South Art is a producer of original artwork, focusing on southern themes. We are based in Central Virginia and are developing images from this great state as well as our neighboring southern states. The map renderings are offered as an artist's viewpoint, and while they are accurately drawn, they are not intended for navigational purposes.
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