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June Yolo Art Ag outing paints the barn red

Iconic red barn makes an ideal painting subject for many
Iconic red barn makes an ideal painting subject for many
Susan Raines

The monthly Yolo Arts agriculture and art collaborative outing took place this June at the recently acquired farmstead in Esparto co-owned by the Woodland Chowdown farmers Kristy Levings and Brian Douglass. The 25 acre property is the site for a long term plan to create a "center for ag education for children." In the meantime, the property is a delight to artists who find many points of interest to occupy their focus, brushes and cameras.

Yolo Arts
Yolo Arts, Susan Raines

Sheep, an old A-frame barn, the 1800's original homestead that is destined for demolition, a tall haystack, large interestingly textured tree stumps, birds in the trees, a bordering farm of almond trees, a pump house converted into an office, stock enclosures and shades, eucalyptus and Italian cypress trees and so much more caught the attention of the attending artists who arrived on Thurs., June 19 and Sat., June 21.

As seems to often be the result, many artists focused on the old structures and the iconic red barn to paint their version of the Esparto Chowdown farm. Some photographers risked the interior of the old homestead and found within an old kitchen, an ancient television, old brass bed frame, a failing roof, floor and other portions of the structure. Others remained outside where the ground is secure while photographing doors, windows, climbing ivy and whatever caught their eye at the moment on the farm.

The historic Spaeth/Martin family homestead will now be memorialized in some of the Yolo Art Ag creations before it is removed to make way for the educational center. The A-frame barn, similar to others in its iconic shape and color, will also be recorded for future generations as interpreted by dozens of artists. The artistic and historical imagery of the farm has drawn previous attention and was used as a backdrop for an independent movie filmed earlier in 2014. And, now that the Art Ag outing is past, the sheep will continue to graze and gather in a group, the birds will chirp and sing, and the farm will change shape and purpose as Kristy and Brian work to make their new dream unfold.

Those who enjoy agricultural inspiration for painting, drawing and photography will find many opportunities available through the Yolo Arts Art Ag Project. A variety of locations throughout the year from Feb. through Nov. give artists vast options to use for inspiration and focus. Barns, crops, ranch animals, historic houses, old farm equipment, orchards, vineyards, tractors, Sacramento river delta scenes, flowers, pets, and so much more might become an aspect of the artists' creative thrills. Artists can sign up free of charge and that's a rare treat indeed.

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