Landscape Painting – An Irresistible All American Barn

landscape paintingA landscape painting with a red barn in it? How freaking original! Why bother, it’s been done so many times before…what’s the point? This would have been my attitude in the past. Today, if I see something I like enough to spend some doing a landscape painting of it, I’m going to do it, no matter what anybody says. So it was with the “The Liberty Barn….”



Landscape Painting an Irresistable All American Barn

landscape painting

“The Liberty Barn” Craig Shillam, Oil/Canvas, 14” x 24″

 It wasn’t the size of the barn. It wasn’t the shape, and it wasn’t the color. It was all about the statement, the commitment, and the effort the barn’s owner put forth when painting his barn. I just felt compelled to commit some time myself to a landscape painting of this barn. 

The actual barn is located in the small Eastern Washington town of Latah. In one of the great farm regions of the world called “The Palouse.” On a short road trip a while back, out of nowhere this barn presented itself and the car practically stopped itself.  The barn seemed like something you would see in a magazine or something.

My grandfather was a farmer. My uncle and cousin still farm that farm. My Mom grew up on that farm. When I was growing up we lived on a “small” spread of about 28 acres or so with horses. I changed more than my share of sprinklers and bucked my share of hay bales. There are farms all around the area where I live. I have a great respect for farmers.

Having said that, it’s not enough for me to just paint a landscape painting of a barn or farm all the time.

I tried very hard on this painting to give the barn dignity. It was important to me to paint the lettering, the flag, and the barn as close to the original as possible, but still have the paint qualities of a landscape painting.  I did take some liberties with the surrounding landscape. Hey, why paint a painting with the word liberty in it if you can’t take some liberty yourself?

Landscape Painting a Great American Barn – Random Notes

 Pallete Knife: I used a palette knife more on this painting than ever before. I tried different knives, different angles, and lots of experimenting. It was way fun and if you haven’t explored palette knives, I highly recommend it.

Lettering: Great care was taken to paint the lettering as close to the actual barn as I was able. The spacing, location, and style is very accurate. Lettering is not easy, if you find yourself painting some lettering in one of your paintings, pay attention to the spacing between each letter, the width of the stroke, and the flat edges, to make the lettering look good.

The Flag: All fifty stars-that farmer didn’t miss one and neither did I.

The Barn: The paint on the barn was weathering from the bottom up. both the red and the white trim were showing some wear. I tried to show the wear, but not a run down structure.

The Truck: An old Chevy truck with a wooden bangboard. Rusty red, slightly tipped toward the barn, and the hood slightly opened as if someone had been checking the engine. Perfect.

Symbolism: Oh Ya.

Thanks for looking, and reading.

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  1. I know this barn and the town it calls home…In the middle of Gods’ country.
    I cant help but look at it as I drive towards it on that country highway, until my eyes must follow the road as it takes a corner to the left.
    Rain or sunshine that barn claims the truth the I feel every day. “Red barn” never waivers from its stance on what it proclaims..
    I appreciate the owner for painting the barn and I thank Craig for bringing the scene to the electronic screen to enjoy.

    Bravo Master Craig.
    Marc Lange