Barn Red

Mara Manning's avatar Mara Manning

The works above are thumbnail proposals for larger pieces. The first in the lineup is the sketch for my entry. I start with sketches and small paintings. I explore composition and a variety of related components before I tackle the subject on a larger scale. I like to work in a series but each piece ultimately stands on its own. I am using oils, oil pastels, milk paint, color aid paper in the series on barn red and flax seed. This is a small “sketch” of what will become a larger work. It is made on clayboard. My larger work is done on a wood substrate with a contemporary 2” thick frame for hanging. My small pieces take less than a day to complete while the larger pieces take about a month. Some of the process requires dry time and repeated layering of images, wax and paint on the surface. My abstract compositions came about because of an interest in the exterior walls of the barns I pass on my weekly drive. I drive by the same buildings over and over again and see abstract geometric paintings on the weathered surfaces if these places i repeatedly pass. Initially I wanted to literally recreate the designs but as I thought more and looked at the work of artists whose work incorporates imagery from science I went in different direction with my recent pieces. I did some research on the reason Wisconsin barns were painted red. I found the paint was originally homemade and out of necessity used ingredients at hand. This led me to the original recipes of milk paint and the later addition of linseed oil, the chemical that ultimately kept the paint from falling off the barns. I made my own milk paint and for these small studies. For the imagery I incorporated the biochemical symbol for flax as well as the color of the blue flower of the plant. I repeated this limited set of symbols many different ways refining the compositions and combinations of the limited set of components. I started this series as a part of a 30 x 30 challenge in January. While the subject matter is different from work I did a few years ago the process and style are the same as is the juxtaposition of veiled meaning. For my Art Prize submission I plan to create 24”x24” mixed media painting based on the work titled Barn Red. While the composition itself will not change significantly the work will be larger than the original 6"x6" sketch. I intend to introduce hot wax into the process as well as refining the seed pod forms and working further with the pattern I can impose on the surface with the use of the biochemical symbology. Please view some of my previous work in my profile and at my behance portfolio. Thank you for your time and interest. You can see older work and additional images from this series proposal here.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth: 2 inches
  • Medium: Mixed Media
  • Width: 24 inches
  • Year created: 2016
  • Height: 24 inches