cleaning the studio...

...and other adventures in art

There are plenty of barns in Iceland.  And there is plenty of appeal for me in a barn: a long, low, simple building, a blocky shape dropped onto the landscape with little innate beauty.  Its utility is not obvious from the outside, and any windows are placed too high to peer into (or out of).  There’s not much there to see, and a lot to overlook, which leaves me with plenty to work with.  It’s almost like a blank canvas.

Here are a few new paintings, on the small side:

I’ve also just finished this large-scale drawing, which joins a suite of other drawings of similar size and subject matter. The other drawings can be found on this page, along with more work in my Iceland/Ísland series.

original artwork by Barbara Downs

Talisman (VIII), charcoal, chalk, wax, pencil, oil on paper, 34″ x 80″, 2017, private collection, photo by R.R. Jones

This next one is encaustic on paper, but because the image itself is such a flat rendition of a barn, I wanted it to sit flat on the wall. So that ruled out a conventional frame that adds depth. Instead, I made a rust-patina steel frame that screws the drawing directly onto the wall.

Original artwork by Barbara Downs, Talisman (IX), Encaustic on Paper with Steel Frame

Talisman (IX), Encaustic on Paper with Steel Frame, 27″ x 47″, 2017

Here are close-ups of the frame, and a photo showing the surface sheen and texture of the encaustic:

And, finally, something a little new, perhaps moving me into another direction: a barn with the addition of a figure. I haven’t done much figurative work for a while, so it was interesting to go back to the figure; I found that I wanted to work it in a flattened manner like the landscape work I’ve been doing.

Original artwork by Barbara Downs, Crime Scene, oil on canvas

Crime Scene, oil on canvas, 40″ x 48″, 2017