West Virginia Barn July 1972
I was working the area around Marlinton W. VA when I spotted this old relic. It represented the perfect image and the lighting was soft because of the over-cast sky. Someone had driven a tractor through the field to the barn and that created an ideal visual lead-in. The barn appeared to be on the verge of falling in, but there was still hay stored in various places on the upper level.
If I heard it once from art patrons, I have heard it a hundred times. This image reminded people of Andrew Wyeth's painting: Christina's World. I wasn't that familiar with Wyeth's work at the time but I went to the library after I returned home from that show and looked it up. There was, indeed, a similarity, but still we were miles apart on the finished subject. Many people have compared my work to Wyeth's, but I took that as a compliment.
When you have observed a collection of my work you recognize it as Jeffers. When you view a collection of paintings by Andrew Wyeth you recognize them as Wyeth. That is how it should be. Over time, a mature artist develops a particular style and that style becomes his or her signature.
As a final note about the West Virginia Barn; I went back two years later to take a second look while on another field trip, and there was nothing left but a pile of broken and rotted lumber partially covered by honeysuckle. As with most wooden structures, the end comes quickly when the roof fails.