Mac’s Barn

It was a good start to the week. A friend called to ask if I was interested in purchasing some secondhand flat files — those big steel drawers that architects, engineers and artists use to store large format plans and artwork. My answer was an emphatic “yes!”. If you purchase these new they are quite costly, and I have been on the lookout for a used set of these for many, many years.

The files were in an old farmhouse in Ontario, and required two trips in our SUV to transport home but it was worth it. On one of the trips to get them, we also had a tour of Mac’s barn. Part of the barn was recently used to store Mac’s vast collection of found objects, and the other part was where the original owners kept livestock. I think this is where the donkey was kept, back in the day.

I am so grateful to have these new storage drawers for large paintings. The storage unit needs a good cleaning and a coat of rust paint on some edges, but as soon as I do that it will be as good as new, and it will be a welcome addition to my studio.

Mac’s Barn was painted wet-in-wet on a sheet of 140 lb Arches CP paper, 16 in. x 20 in.

33 Comments on “Mac’s Barn”

  1. I’m all choked up. Mac would be very pleased.



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  2. sara m craig says:

    Love this Shari!!!!


  3. beth says:

    How wonderful


  4. TonyU says:

    Delighted for you re the flat files find. Mac’s barn looks like it’s seen better days … but then so do I!


    • I am delighted too, Tony. I think the original house was built in 1878 so I would imagine the barns are quite old too. Luckily the flat files are a little newer than that!!


  5. ccr1ccr2 says:

    Quite a complex drawing – wow! Love how you’ve got the daylight coming in through the tumbledown roof. Who doesn’t love an old barn? That’s right, nobody. And, I have major pangs of envy over your flat files. Are they similar to a plan chest (ie do you call them that too)?


  6. De says:

    It’s fun to find those items we’ve “wished for” for a long time. Congratulations on being selected to send a painting to King Charles!!! What an honor!


  7. AshleyWolff says:

    The nuanced colors in your painting is amazing and I am a searching sister when it comes to used flat files. Congrats!


  8. Denise says:

    You scored twice-flat files, and another great painting subject!


  9. Mary says:

    Oh, wow. I love everything about it. Your eye could travel around for quite awhile taking it all in. Mary.


  10. This is great! The light and the shadows work so well!! It must have been so much fun to paint this. Congrats on getting the flat files!


  11. karim waked says:


    You’re killing us! ❤️✨


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  12. Y.B. De Ridder says:

    Nice friend! Trying to understand the structure, is that barn falling apart and all timber lying around?


  13. Judy Sopher says:

    Everyone has used the words I want to say. My first reaction was “I can’t believe what I am seeing” followed by “Oh Wow, this is great” Having had horses, we have had barns. I love barns. and love this painting.


    • Judy, thanks! I love barns too and I am especially intrigued by how the light comes into the interiors. I have a few more photos that I will use as references for paintings.


  14. Carol Cooney says:

    It looks a little dangerous but interesting. When we bought our farm 51 years ago, the old red barns were full of interesting items. I could have been called a picker, if I had known what the term meant. There’s not too many old barns left in Michigan.


    • Carol, apparently there was much more in the barns before we saw them. I am certain some pickers went through there in the past few weeks because the farm was just sold. Lucky me they didn’t the flat files.


  15. Gail Jones says:

    Always amazes me how you can take the ordinary and turn it into something beautiful. Love the colors in this scene especially.


  16. Betsy says:

    That would be a hard picture to paint in oil, but the fact you have done it in watercolor is remarkable. Wow!

    You are so skilled at capturing complex shapes and volumes.


  17. Mira says:

    Amazing Shari! Its very intriguing-It looks abstract and the perspective is puzzling -could be from the top view or looking up….really different from what you normally paint.


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