Diane Becker, "Country Life"

Our college bound daughter is working on a home-based project this summer — a painting on the side of one of our barns. It’s a pretty big painting, about 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide, with a lot of detail but she has a schedule of what part of the painting she should be working on each week from June until she leaves for college in mid-August. What she might not have considered was the rain we’ve gotten in June which put a halt to her work. She has also found that when the sun does come out, it’s nice and warm until it’s really hot beating down on her and reflecting off the side of the barn. It may be a little tight getting the mural finished before Aug. 13.

I set up a lawn chair to watch her for a few minutes one afternoon last week as she painted. It was a beautiful time of the day (she was still in the shade). There wasn’t any wind and the paint was going on beautifully although she was a little concerned over whether the color she was using was all right. She’s been rather particular about her work so far, using a wider brush sometimes but then resorting to a one-inch sized brush and then some even smaller than that on the detail work. A step ladder has been helpful since the beginning when she used a pencil to sketch out the picture on the wood.

She drew up the design and filled it in with colored pencils on a sketch pad last year during COVID when it looked like she would be stuck at home for months. What better time than a pandemic to paint a mural on the side of the barn? Still, it wasn’t until this summer that she had the time to paint the design onto the barnwood.

She isn’t alone out there working in the farmyard. Howie, the beagle, is thoroughly enjoying having Maddie outside for hours while he sits nearby and naps. Recently Maddie also had a friend’s kitty she was babysitting playing on the grass nearby as she painted. Our lone chicken has wondered by a few times also. It’s pretty slow around here — nothing too distracting.

Luckily so, because the summer is flying by and visits to stay with sisters, go on road trips, spend time with friends and finish work are all making Maddie wish she had a few more weeks to get her barn mural project done. With her being our last child at home, I’m wanting the summer to lengthen, too. If we could just insert two more weeks into July, I’d be much happier but then she and I feel that way every July.

I’m confident that, one way or another, the mural is going to get done and then we’ll need to cover it with a good sealant because I want it to stay intact on our barn for a long time.

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