Santa Barbara Barn Oil Painting

| July 18, 2010
barn oil painting lee a brown

Santa Barbara Barn Oil Painting – 8×10, Oil on Linen

Photography one day and painting the next. All the makings for a perfect weekend! I will admit that today’s painting was inspired by Perry Brown. Perry has painted some great pictures with old barns in them and when I saw this one off of Highway 101 near the Santa Barbara wine country, I thought of Perry’s work and had to give it a go. If you would like to see Perry’s work just visit his website at

I set this painting up by first building and underpainting containing a reasonably tight drawing and all of the relative values with a thin mix of Rembrandt Transparent Oxide Red and Ultramarine Blue Deep. A quick photo of the underpainting taken with my iPhone is shown below.

oil underpainting

Underpainting for Santa Barbara Barn

Frankly, my pieces seem to turn out better when I follow this method. I find that the process allows me to work out any drawing issues and gives me the time to really set up the piece in my mind before I commit to color. As far as the painting process goes, I first painted in the sky followed by the distant hills. I then painted in the hill behind the barn and completed the foreground. I was really looking forward to the barn so I left it for last. I knew the drawing had to be precise on the barn since it was going to be my focal point. I used a very sharp synthetic brush to cut in all of the shapes and edges and then proceeded to break up the masses and the edges to suit my tastes.

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Category: Fine Art and Painting

Comments (6)

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  1. I’ve been following Perry Brown for a while. I really like his work. I don’t know if you’re trying to follow the colors exactly on this, or if you’re going after an artistic idea. (Richard Schmid vs. Thomas Moran. Both good, your pick). Is there a reference photo?

  2. Lee says:

    Hi Martyn. Since Perry paints with a fair touch of color in his work, I thought I would go for a similar look. I guess I am more interested in the artistic idea than anything else. My tendency is to get too precise and drive myself nuts rendering with a realist slant. I enjoy letting the painting talk as I go and see where it ends up. I have experience in painting workshops where a single scene is painted nine different ways. Our impression is driven by our interpretation and skill level in the end.

  3. AutumnLeaves says:

    You said the first thing I’ve read that helps me to understand why artists do underpaintings. I never do them and it indubitably shows. But I never could get the reasoning for them either! Anyway, Lee, this is beautiful. It reminds me a bit of Terry Muira’s style.

  4. Lee says:

    Thanks Sherry. I checked out Tony’s work and I like the loose style. That is what I was going for. Thanks for the tip! Try the underpainting sometime. It is easy to wipe off and change things if you need to before laying down the color.

  5. Perry says:

    We used to live south of Santa Barbara and I think I know that barn, Lee. You did a great job with the execution. Painting metal structures can be challenge especially when the light hits the roof at midday. If not done correctly, the roof looks like it is covered with snow. You did a nice job of retaining color throughout.

  6. Lee says:

    Hi Perry. Love the Santa Barbara countryside. Thanks for the painting feedback. I appreciate your input and critique! Hope you all are having a great summer.