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‘Winter's Light’ On Canvas: Taunton Lake Through An Artist’s Eye

Muted browns and wistful pale blues stretched across artist Patricia Barkman’s canvas. Her oils and brush strokes caught fading sunlight and shadows lengthening across Taunton Lake, reaching for the far shore where bare trees stood waiting for spring. The scene also captured the early March sky mirrored on the lake. Describing the shadows and colors, she said, “It’s winter light.”

Walking through snow clinging to her backyard bordering the lake, Ms Barkman pointed past the end of her dock to a small table and two chairs set out on the frozen lake. She planned to have a glass of wine out there as dusk fell, enjoying the scene and surrounded by ice. Mentioning the sky, changing daylight, and reflections in puddles, she said, “It takes on beautiful colors.”

Although the sun shines and fades across the setting every day, it often changes, Ms Barkman said. “Paintings of course may go where you don’t expect, colors vary from hour to hour and those reflected in the ice are amazing — cobalt blue, greenish blue, or gray, and the reflections from the far bank — burnt sienna, orange yellow… the puddles light up with those colors.”

First describing late winter’s dying sunlight on Taunton Lake in an e-mail sent to The Bee on March 7, Ms Barkman wrote of her 36-by-36-inch oil painting of Taunton Lake “in the late afternoon sun when the blue shadows in the foreground are getting longer across the ice and the warmth of the sun saturates the glow on the far shore.” 

Several days later as Ms Barkman headed toward the table in its frigid setting, she offered reassurances that the ice was thick. A warm afternoon had turned the top several inches into slush, catching her footprints toward the table as if in sand.

Wearing her floppy “Rembrandt hat,” Ms Barkman spoke of scenic views that had inspired her painting, again mentioning “the saturated colors and shadows in the foreground and the undisturbed bank on the far side” of Taunton Lake.

Of course her “love of the lake” also fed her creativity.

Ms Barkman does a painting for each season, if not more than one, she said.

Her winter scenes can be challenging, since her paints are water-based. If they should freeze, then painting is done for the day.

Her fondness for the lakeside setting and her house in particular started years ago. “I had always loved Taunton Lake, and wanted to live by water.”

When she first saw the house where she lives now, she said, “I held my breath” until her late husband Leon Barkman saw it too. She said the two of them then “both held our breath” until their dream 18 years ago to buy the house came true. Ms Barkman has lived in Newtown for 44 years, the last 18 of which she has spent often gazing out a large living room window overlooking Taunton Lake and its far shore.

More stories like this: Taunton Lake, painting, Patricia Barkman
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