Meyers Grade

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The White Barn

Rocky Point

Rocky Point

Black Point

The Known and the Unknown, Part I

Barn Series

Part of what makes the northern coast of California so appealing is its sense of isolation, a feeling embodied by the old barns that cling to the bluffs along

Highway 1. 

This series started with the barn at Meyers Grade. On the long drive up the coast, it's a comforting landmark, a sign you're nearly home. I tried to convey that sense of home and comfort by giving it an almost quilt-like feel, with a patchwork of simple geometric forms and alternating bright and neutral colors—the influence of old folk art traditions of the Eastern Seaboard where I lived for many years.

The White Barn is an even more formalized nod to the folk art tradition: bold, simplified forms and patches of color; a naive sensibility. 

In contrast, the barn at Rocky Point has an impressionistic, dreamlike quality. It feels at once mysterious and familiar, a lonely outpost on a long, isolated stretch of coast. Despite heavy fog rolling in over the bluff, the foreground is filled with improbably vibrant colors, just as when Dorothy finally lays eyes on Oz at the end of her long, arduous journey, and the movie suddenly transitions from black and white to Technicolor.

 

The barn at Black Point is one of my favorite subjects—so pastoral and iconic, it could be an Andrew Wyeth painting. To put a different spin on it, I stripped down the composition and intensified the colors using broad, loose brushstrokes. It's a happy, life-affirming painting: a celebration of the elation you feel standing at the edge of the vast Pacific. 

The Known and the Unknown, Parts I and II are bookends. We have the known, physical world of the land and sea around us, and the unknown, metaphysical world represented by the barn doors, one open, one closed. The stark compositions leave the viewer both curious and apprehensive. Should we explore or resist?

The Known and the Unknown, Part II

© Lisa Lauer Fine Art, Gualala, CA