Linda Hefner is known for her vibrant acrylic paintings of historical New England barns and architecture. Hefner’s love of endangered Americana is rooted in the past, including her own: she spent formative years of her childhood among enduring one-room schoolhouses and pre-Civil War barns near her father’s mink farm in rural Maine. And though her illustrations have been published in The New Yorker and Harper’s Bazaar, Hefner’s clear-eyed paintings (painstakingly drafted on fine, prepared birch boards sanded to an eggshell finish) seem a rebuke to the blur of contemporary life. Hefner is fascinated by the untold stories and bygone integrity of her subjects.
“It’s when they were made, and why they were made,” she has said. “They were made before electricity, before antibiotics even - these people needed these places in order to survive as communities. They’re beautiful and can’t be forgotten.” Each building she paints involves multiple site visits and long hours of care devoted to preserving its mute and elusive personality in the perfect light.
Classic New England architecture is a dying breed. My work celebrates the endangered beauty of old New England barns, schoolhouses, and grange halls, and by extension, the rural communities that depended upon them for daily survival. I build my paintings up slowly and meticulously, focusing on accuracy and fine detail as well as on the play between light and shadow. These wonderful handmade buildings have so much beauty and strength, and I want to invite viewers to share in that with me and to appreciate these monuments of a vanished time before they’re gone.
Additional Reading about Linda
Member Exhibit at the New Hampshire Art Association
Article by Vandy Leigh
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