Anyway, here are a couple of photos from the SMARTS fundraisers and demos last week in Youngstown.
September was a busy month. In the first week I made my annual retreat to the Abbey of Gethsemani, deep in knob country of rural Kentucky. Delivered a few paintings, including two to Maggie B., descendant of the only slave-owned farm I’ve seen. Here’s a link to the barn – just scroll to Kentucky and then Marion County. https://barnart.weebly.com/other-states.html
I’ve decided to donate 20% of any Gethsemani painting – in the Gethsemani series – to the church of your choice. Just include the address of the church when you purchase the painting.
I have posted the Hancock and Crawford County paintings, which will be in fundraisers in 2019 in those counties. Last Wednesday I delivered them to Matt Reese, the editor of Ohio’s Country Journal, who asked me to do these for nonprofits in those counties.
On this year’s “surprise” anniversary trip – the 2012 trip stimulated me to do start the Ohio Barn Project – my wife took me to Ohio’s Amish country, where we spent the weekend. We stayed in Holmes County and took a custom tour of the backroads via Troyer Tours – up and down hills, past Amish horse-drawn buggies and children in traditional dress, and even past two ladies, dressed in black from head to toe, heading to a funeral in their carriage. Richard Troyer, a descendant of Amish, not only knew the history of the region, but could speak German – as many can in that faith. Thanks to Laura’s planning, I was able to find many good barn compositions in Holmes County and a few more in Muskingum, Coshocton, and Stark counties. On our way home, we stopped for a visit with Chris, my dental assistant of 25+ years, who moved back to her home in Lancaster with her husband Brett almost ten years ago. That visit led to a drive through their splendid downtown and then through Pickaway County, where I found yet another barn composition – one step further to my quest to paint barns in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.
The month ended with a barn tour of Fairfield County, where, thanks to barn scout Nate, I recorded nearly a dozen barns, a couple of incredible ones, including one restored by Nate, his brother, and his dad. The next day I drove to Akron for more barn exploring in Summit County with Leianne of the Summit County historical society, whose “office” blew me away, along with Brett Laske, owner of Wayne County’s Blue Barn Winery, who was there to pick up his paintings. The historical society is on steroids – as is Leianne, who has a masters degree in historical preservation. It’s located fairly close to downtown Akron and on the grounds of the Perkins stone mansion, the house of the founders of the rubber city. Across the street is the house of John Brown - yes, that John Brown – who tended the flock of a thousand merino sheep on the Perkins farm. Leianne and I saw some impressive barns in the short time I was there. I’ll return for more.
Then it was onto Youngstown to deliver the paintings for the SMARTS fundraiser. I did a demo painting of a Mahoning County barn on Thursday and about 70 school children “helped” me with. They’re now certified in using a palette knife to paint. Friday morning barn scout Doug Dennis and I toured more barns in Trumbull County, three of which were amazing finds. Doug’s got some homework to uncover the stories. Friday evening was the annual SMARTS fundraiser – with my paintings contributing. Andy Gray wrote a nice article about my barn paintings, which probably helped attendance at the event –
I also did another demo painting. I left early, totally whipped.
On Saturday, after delivering a commission in Columbiana County and since I didn’t have much response from Ohio’s eastern counties, I decided to go solo – without the safety and knowledge of a barn scout – and searched for barns – hoping for at least one – in Carroll, Jefferson, Harrison, Guernsey, and Belmont counties. I did have a contact in Harrison – at the stunning red round barn, the only 16-sided barn in Ohio. The roads, beginning in southern Columbiana County, lie in the Appalachian plateau and mimic a giant roller coaster. Up and down, left and right. A rare straight patch of road was a welcome relief.
I was making great progress and had about 15 minutes until I’d see my old friends, Marge and Gary, at their famous Kindleberger barn. However, just like the first time I visited them, I got lost, taking an extra half-hour to find them. I dropped off a study of their old barn – not the famous “new” one, built by German stone masons in the 1880s. They’ve added two rental cabins, one built from 200-year-old logs from a log-house where Gary grew up. They’ll send me business cards when ready. To cap off the day I drove through adjacent Noble County since it was on my way to my hotel in Zanesville. One more barn, one more county crossed off my list. I tried watching the OSU-Penn State game, but I crashed before halftime.
On Sunday I did have a contact in Zanesville – Muskingum County – Susan McDonald, a lawyer and a farm owner, who showed me her family’s farm and barn – a extremely photogenic setting – near The Wilds, an African-style game preserve on 10,000 acres of rolling hills. Then, on my way home, I drove through Perry County to see three beautiful round barns, all fairly close together. A fourth had fallen apart. Too late again. Finding them was a challenge, but I’m glad I did.
Now, I’ve got to make the frames, and do about 50 paintings, which will take me into 2019. To make life interesting, I’ve scheduled the Mount Desert Island marathon ten days from now, along with five days of finding compositions along the Maine and Massachusetts coastline. I think I might have overscheduled. Perhaps I did, but I’ll let you know next month.