Painting Something Meaningful

 Barn No. 1 | © Beth Cole | 6 x 6 x 1.5 | Oil on Wood Panel

Barn No. 1 | © Beth Cole | 6 x 6 x 1.5 | Oil on Wood Panel

How do you find your subject matter to paint? For me, it is my camera, whether driving down the road and snapping photos with my iPhone, or driving the backroads on foggy mornings with my big girl Nikon. I usually take shots of anything to which I am drawn. Many of them go into the trash bin, but I have found several keepers through the years using this method.

 Barn No. 2 | © Beth Cole | 6 x 6 x 1.5 | Oil on Wood Panel

Barn No. 2 | © Beth Cole | 6 x 6 x 1.5 | Oil on Wood Panel

Lately, I have been yearning for a little more cohesiveness and meaning in my work. That is to say, I love everything I paint, but I want to deep down feel connected to a subject matter. And I am happy to say, I think I have found something.

In preparation for an upcoming show at the Museum of Nebraska Art this November, I wanted to paint a collection of pieces that were unified, small and affordable. I looked through all of my photos and found something that I have shot over and over and over……vintage barns. You know the wooden ones that they don’t build anymore….the ones with peeling paint, crooked doors, broken windows, rusty roofs and tall grass all around. I love them with all my heart. Why? I don’t know. Except for my upbringing on a wheat farm where there were barns like this on every home place. I have great memories of climbing into the hayloft or playing hide and seek barns like this.

 Barn No. 3 | © Beth Cole | 6 x 6 x 1.5 | Oil on Wood Panel

Barn No. 3 | © Beth Cole | 6 x 6 x 1.5 | Oil on Wood Panel

But I think it might go deeper than that. People of the land use a barn, it is not just for show. It is keeper of precious things…..horses, hay, tools, machinery….sometimes overflow of crops. It is a symbol of goodness and plenty….God’s provision through hard work and effort. Barns are noble as they rise above all the other buildings on the place. They are at once anchors, landmarks and protectors.

 Barn No. 4 | © Beth Cole | 6 x 6 x 1.5 | Oil on Wood Panel

Barn No. 4 | © Beth Cole | 6 x 6 x 1.5 | Oil on Wood Panel

So I’m painting me a few vintage barns, twelve to be exact. And I’m loving the process with my whole heart.

 Barn No. 5 | © Beth Cole | 6 x 6 x 1.5 | Oil on Wood Panel

Barn No. 5 | © Beth Cole | 6 x 6 x 1.5 | Oil on Wood Panel

I hope you enjoy the work of my hands so far. More to come. Thanks for reading to the end, love you for it.

--Beth
Soli Deo Gloria