Marybeth Heikes

Paintings in Watercolor & Mixed Media

Pink Prairie Patterns (Iowa Barn Series)

Pink Prairie Patterns (Iowa Barn Series)

Acrylic collage

It all started back in 1985, when a customer told me about a cool barn to see and possibly do a painting of it. So I grabbed my Minolta camera, the old film kind, and took off. The adventure led to traveling down many southern Iowa country roads without a plan or map — just searching out these old structures filled with character. Some are completely erased from the landscape.

This particular barn is in Exline, a small burg near Centerville. There have been some changes in this barn. I’m glad to have taken many reference photos to work from. This particular barn was all white, including the roof and fences, so I used artistic liberty when designing my collage.

I have painted this barn  many times. All the elements appeal to me. It has an interesting gnarled tree next to it, and when the sun is shining there are fantastic shadows on the side of the barn. The shape of the cattle chute and cupola on top were other details I found interesting.

As usual, I begin by choosing the colors for my composition — which ones complement each other — and edit the shapes so that I have a clear, strong design. I usually spend a week just preparing the collage papers by painting them using acrylic pigments, usually Golden and Liquitex. For the big barn shape I chose a dark gray and followed that with cool teal, pink/magenta, and yellow. These colors are natural choices for me and my work is characterized by intensive hues and textures.

There were too many details in the photograph and it is not my intention to put everything into the composition. It is a stronger design with less shapes clamoring for attention. I lay the paper shapes on my support and adhere them to the surface with acrylic gel gloss medium. To remove excess medium and bubbles, paper towels are used to flatten and press them onto the support. Sometimes I’ll use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process and always allow it to dry overnight before applying the UV varnish. This composition is in a square format, one of my favorite design shapes.

Posted in Midwest Life on January 24, 2017.

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Metal walnut frame (24" x 24") with white mat

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Actual image size is 8″×8″.

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