I grew up in Salem and Winston country so tobacco barns fill my earliest memories – at least the non-bulk barn style. I became intimately familiar with them during the four summers I worked on a farm where most of my work involved pulling, stringing and hanging the heavy, sticky leaves that were THE cash crop of North Carolina. That early association may be the reason that wherever I travel I notice barns – Dutch barns, crib barns, bank barns.
Those barns encompass many more purposes than tobacco drying and storage. The design of barns were utilitarian based on location and purpose. Bank barns, for example, were built into hillsides (thus more common in foothills and mountain areas) while crib barns were used both for grain and small livestock since the design included stalls along both sides of an aisle. So there are barns for storing grain, hay, and fruit. However, the main purpose was normally housing or working with livestock such as cow or goats for dairy production, chicken coops for nesting (making egg laying and retrieval easier than hunting them in trees and fields), and stables for protecting breed stock such as Thoroughbred horses. Many farms had primary barns and smaller storage buildings to store vegetables and ice through the winter months as well as extra forage and feed for livestock.
The barn and shed in this painting are from photographs I took on one of my rambles in search of myself as well as subject matter for paintings. I am including the original photographs with this ‘making of series’ followed by a series of barn photographs I’ve taken over the years.