November 11, 2010

It feels like the beginning of the holiday season when the The Douglas County AIDS Project holds their annual November art auction in Lawrence.  Gazing at a wide variety of art forms and seeing what people are willing to pay for them while enjoying Maceli’s excellent food, was a great way to spend last Sunday evening.  I donated a painting, “Karla’s Barn,” and received two free tickets to the auction, which, incidentally I think all charitable auctions ought to do for their donors.

The painting I donated was mostly painted on site on the property of a local Lawrence artist.  An interesting aspect of plein air paintings is the memories attached to them.  Even though I did a painting of this deteriorating old barn 11 years ago, I remember this experience very well, perhaps partly because I wrote about it when I had to write an artist’s statement (I hate writing those).

Since barns are now seldom used for livestock or hay storage, many of them are picturesquely falling apart and this one was no exception.  It was definitely leaning.  Unlike the red barns I remember from my Iowa childhood, then one had remained unpainted and had that deep gray weathered look.  A pumpkin sat on a bale of straw beside the barn.  The leaves on the nearby trees had turned rust colored.

I remember that day very clearly.  I had gone there to paint with a friend.  The weather was chilly and the wind was blowing.  I was hanging onto the painting on the easel with one hand and painting with the other while a cat was trying to crawl into my lap.  At the same time I was thinking there was nowhere else I would rather be at that moment.

Anyway, “Karla’s Barn” (24″ x 18″) garnered several bids and sold for $110, about half the price I valued it at, which is typical for auctions.  I always liked that painting and am glad it finally found a home.


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