Blog Archive

Friday, September 8, 2017


The Great White Room in My Great White Barn!

Across from the Village Store, My Great White Barn has attracted some attention. No wonder! Cars and trucks coming and going, lumber deliveries, an insulation truck almost as long as my driveway, and endless buzzing and banging...
The news is, the project is nearing completion! Almost faster than I can keep up with the blogs.  Saturday past the insulation truck and a single person worked all day, finishing that portion of the project, so the walls could be finished. This week has been finish the dry wall upstairs and install the doors week! 

Stairwell to the second floor

The completed dry walls, stair well and 2nd floor, have left me thinking of all the possibilities for "the great white room" in My Great White Barn. Funny how much larger the room looks with dry wall...
the first activity will take place in that room next Thurs...6 o'clock yoga has been bumped from town hall because of two meetings starting at 7...Eurika...instead of changing the time, we can change the place.

Slider as seen from interior
Slider from the exterior...
Meanwhile, the slider arrived and has been put in place. Thanking Ed Boyer for the inspiration of an interior slider to save heat AND to save the aesthetics of the real barn doors. It's looking great. 
Front door

Four other insulated doors are also on the agenda, necessary to maintain gallery and the great white room as two separate heating zones. Front door, door to stairwell storage, gallery door to entry way and second floor door from Great White Room to second floor storage area. 
Gallery to entry way

Door to the stairwell storage

Missing still? The official lighting. Wiring is done and fixtures selected, but the electrician is evidently busy somewhere else. It happens.
The downstairs floor will be sanded and urethaned, waiting for the electrician to finish, and the upstairs floor is a question still. 

Assuming all goes as planned, (does it ever?) I'll be posting a photo of the first yoga class in the Great White Room, and soon thereafter I should be able to start hanging for the preview exhibition...scheduled for Oct 14! 

If you see the doors open, you're welcome to poke your head in and see it for real, or wait for the first exhibit when the gallery is all dressed up and ready to go!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

FREEDOM GALLERY: Upstairs, Downstairs


A phrased often used to describe the development of a New England home site is,"Big house, little house, back house, barn...You can't travel far in New England without seeing the big house, little house, back house, barn...with the barn often connected to the big house.   

As the rehabbing progresses, I find myself thinking, upstairs, downstairs, walls and doors.

Upstairs (actually 2/3's of the upstairs) is being dry walled, both walls and ceiling, with the second floor and stairwell insulated and heated separately from the downstairs. Drywalls, taping and sizing are in process. Insulation has been blown in, or fiberglassed, varying with the situation.
Retrofitting barns with insulation wasn't something anyone thought about 30 or 50 years ago.

Downstairs will have a different look. Ceiling beams are maintained and a second "shell" of barn wood creates the inside wall, hiding the insulation. 

Because effectively insulating barn doors and old windows with old glass is difficult if not impossible, several strategies are being used. Window frames are insulated and thermal "interior" storm windows will be installed. The glass next to the open barn door, pictured above, is ready and waiting. 

Of the four sets of barn doors visible from the exterior, the two middle sets will be hidden inside behind insulation and walls...a gallery needs hanging space.

The far end will be left as is, operating as garage doors, and the near end will be left working and visible from the interior, but a thermal 8 foot slider will be inset with  a narrow shelf above it reaching to the ceiling. The structure for the slider is also visible above.

Details waiting!

The garage portion still holds some of the details...rennai waiting to be installed and several doors, furniture displaced, waiting to return.

And so, the Great White Barn is shifting with the times, entering the fifth phase of her life since 1865. Neither connected nor close to my house, by New England standards, she started smaller, was doubled in size towards the back, with her loft out the back and her barn door in the front,  either connected to or very close to the Merritt House which was moved out of town and has since burned down.

At some time after the property switched hands, The Great White Barn became a carriage house with four sets of doors on the side, as pictured to the left.

With Mary Hockmeyer, the barn took on the new role of gallery and meeting place with some fun parties as well, accompanied by an old player piano. And, also started with Mary, the Old Home Week Annual Lawn Party.
Barn, bigger barn, carriage house, gallery and meeting place, and fifth phase, winterized gallery, meeting place for continued fun activities Times change...

No official opening date yet, but aiming for mid-October with an exhibit of regional art...White Mountain Landscapes, Townscapes, Lakescapes! And of course Freedom Rings in the Holidays.  Classes, yoga, and creative workshops in the new year.

Friday, August 18, 2017



Old Home Week over, it's time to go full speed ahead, and so it has begun again.
Turning an old barn (1865) into a full fledged gallery has more steps then the new ones going from first to second floor. Turning one section into a full fledged studio was minimal to that is left, but  I learned the steps...electric wiring, insulation, walls and ceiling to cover the wiring and insulation, floor rehab, heat, lighting...but one learns quickly that a barn is extensive! 
Stacked and ready to go...

Old Home Week with its lawn party and exhibit were coming attractions of the gallery and event space that will emerge from this effort, but far from the finished product. 

Tuesday after old home week brought a delivery truck that seemed as long as the driveway, and a stack of lumber for the next stages. Electricians arrived to string yards and yards of wire. A gallery needs track lights, ambiance lights, storage and workshop lights on the second floor (and more track lighting incase we expand?) and foam board insulation appeared, only of the several types of insulation that will eventually be part of this whole project.
Insulation between first and second floor.

Sorting things out, preparing for insulation.
 With wiring in place, insulation goes in, section by section, and then the coverings.

Of course the old wall had thirty years of seasoning, and the ceiling/second story floor had over 150 years of seasoning and wear, so the new boards to go above the studio door, and on the ceiling, had to get some "artificial seasoning." 

Today, a rainy day, was exactly the right time to have a painting party! 
Not landscapes or portraits or still life's as one might expect of a gallery intended for fine arts, but boards for ceiling and walls!
Rainy days are good days to prepare ahead. Notice the ceiling about half finished...but those 1865 beams and posts are showing!
Wires hanging down waiting for the track lighting...but progress is obvious...and

Next week is another week! 
Coming attractions?  Actual lights? The slider, cleverly disguised from the outside as the traditional barn doors, but maintaining the look inside as well and opening a full 8 idea from friend and Freedom neighbor, Ed Boyer...(Thanks Ed, I'll need help on the second floor as well regarding the work bench area too) Floor to be sanded and polished? 
storage area? wall and floor insulation?   Keep watch here. It's all coming in installments.

And Me?  I'm painting paintings instead of boards, and imaging the next painting in the "hut" series, dreaming of the series after that and stashing notes and ideas for the classes I'm taking and the classes I'll be teaching... 

Keep checking back for progress and announcements!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Freedom Old Home Week Lawn Party

My "other house" sold! 
Capital available, time to get ripping on renovations...Full speed ahead! 

But wait!
Freedom Old Home Week is the first week in August, this year being the 119th year for the event.  For almost thirty of those years, there has also been the tradition of the opening event, the Friday evening lawn party, held on the lawn of "The Great White Barn."
Me pointing to Peg Scully's  "painting corner." 
Joel's Wall

Mary Hockmeyer, former owner of the barn and house at 8 Elm Street, started the lawn party tradition. What better place to hold the opening of Freedom Week Festivities than the lawn of the barn located in the center of town. For the first seven years I lived in Freedom, that lawn party was one of my favorite events, so when neighbors and acquaintances in Freedom learned I was to be the new owner, the big question was, are you going to have the lawn party? My answer, "Of course, I can't think of anywhere better!"
Sarah's Wall

New owners of course put their own stamp on things...mine was to have four other artists in town share my space with me, announcing, as it were, that the barn would be a gallery. This year ALL Freedom artists were invited to bring three works of art. A recent book I'd read, Show Your Work, inspired me to spread the message. We managed to add 6 artists to the fold, including 4 excited "newbies" to the world of exhibiting, with plans to expand to the second floor next year! 
Terri's Space and Ian Marshall's Memorial

Think of the complexity of closing down construction...interrupting the work, cleaning and clearing the space completely for the exhibit, than full speed ahead again two weeks later. My contractor, Ray DesMarais, understands about artists. His wife is one.  

Interludes and deadlines...because another, bigger exhibit is on the planning board for October 13/14/15.
Probably the official opening, as well!

Deadlines...exhibit interludes! 
Mind changing!
(I expect working with an artist is not always easy, we're known to be quirky)

Thank you to all the artists who participated and to Ray DesMarais for engineering the "interlude" seamlessly.  

NEXT EXHIBIT will feature White Mountain Scenes from photographers and artists who live,  hike, play, and practice their art in the region they live in. Possibly on view as early as October 9, there will be a special preview for Appalachian Mountain Club members the weekend of October 13, 14, 15, followed by the official opening of the Freedom Gallery.

Keep watch on this blog...

Coming to the gallery as well:
Freedom Rings in the Holiday, November 17,18  will again feature mainly local artists.

Yoga in Freedom will expand its offerings and switch from Town Hall to the gallery as soon as the down stairs is heated sufficiently and work upstairs finished. 

Classes on "Creating on Purpose," "Finding and freeing your creativity," and other classes will be offered starting in January.

Monday, May 15, 2017

FREEDOM GALLERY: Moving up in the world!

New steps went in two weeks ago, and now it is possible, quite literally, to move up in the World! Up to the second floor of the barn... starting at the top and working down, with a plan, rehabbing/repurposing continues (And provides a metaphor for living!) 

Storage: Half of the second floor.

Of course I'm using part of the second floor for storage...old frames (cheaper to get them at flea markets and garage sales than at a frame shop), canvas panels, wrapping materials for the gallery, etc.
 And this is New Hampshire...winter sports equipment has to go somewhere from March to December. And that large piece of fitness equipment that fits nowhere else conveniently. 

This Great White Barn, however, has larger than storage purposes.

Art Gallery! Yoga classes! Art and "other" workshops! The Dream has its requirements.

Strapping across the beams to hold the plastic!
The barn space has to be heated in the winter. In NH, there are really three seasons that require warmth, and even summer nights can be cool. Wooden barn walls are not enough. In this case, insulation is crucial, from the top down.

First step, vertical posts and poles to extend the depth of the walls, supported space for the insulation, downstairs and upstairs. Then "strapping" across the ceiling beams to hold the plastic which will ultimately hold the attic insulation.

Getting ready for insulation
I'm thinking about this barn rehabbing/repurposing process. The steps are a simple metaphor for any change we might want to make in our lives! Times have changed and I can not, nor would I want to, rehab the barn to its former glory of housing animals or being a carriage house, but that doesn't mean it's time to let it fall into disarray. And how many of us have rehabbed a house, refurbished a room, a piece of furniture or our wardrobe?  What about rehabbing a career, even our and society have changed...Not all of what went before is appropriate now. 
Installing the plastic...

My own passion for yoga and fitness leads me to think of rehabbing our bodies. We all have bodies, but with time and age, our bodies change, but have we "let ourself go"? Or maybe not been attentive to possibilities in the beginning? How many people do I have tell me they can't take yoga because they have never been  flexible? It is possible to rehab/improve our bodies just as it is possible to rehab a barn. 
Our body is a structure that requires renewal, that responds to rejuvenation, just as a house, a garden, a barn does. And, like a house, a garden, a barn, the renewal/rejuvenation/rehabing, is not going to happen quickly, and won't happen without purposeful planning. But yes, muscles can be made stronger again, (including heart and lungs), body AND mind parts can be stretched and made more flexible. 

So take on the challenge. Make a plan, figure out and build in the steps necessary,  and move up in the world!  Remember, whatever you take on is a process, not a happening. Time is NOT your enemy unless you expect it done tomorrow! May as well start today! and enjoy the process even over the next few years if that's what it takes!

(also check my website, and artist blog 

Friday, May 5, 2017

FREEDOM GALLERY: Starting Up, Yet Again

Starting up, AGAIN? YES, AGAIN
Carpenters on the scene!

How many times do you get an idea, an aim, all energy to go with it, and then....
You lose your focus? You get discouraged? 
Think of your New Year resolutions...or how many times you decided to lose weight.
Maybe instead, you decided to exercise on a regular basis, and it lasted a while before getting lost in the morass of living.
What happened? Why did you lose momentum? That analysis is another subject, worth the effort but a distraction from real time problem. 
If the aim/project/ idea is in your heart, the real time solution is to start up, YET AGAIN!
Think of these starts, not as false starts, but as learning starts. 

Just so with MY GREAT WHITE BARN! All energy when I moved to 8 Elm, Freedom, two exhibits within a year, but the barn needed to be winterized and that took major capital I wouldn't get until I sold my other house (still not sold, but soon!)

Money was there to winterize a small section of the studio/workplace...DONE! but an obligation to keep my other studio operating took the fun from what I could do in that barn across my lawn. 

Discouragement! Expect it to happen on any project, but DON'T EVER GIVE UP! (Sign on my studio door.
Take a rest.
Review your plans.  Are you trying too much at once?
Break it into smaller bits and pieces! 
I love the book, Write It Down, Make It Happen, by Henriette Anne Klauser.
It works...write out some details. 
Then choose one piece to work on.
Big plans still have little pieces.
For me with my barn, call the contractor and discuss what piece he could do NOW!

Voila! Safe stairs meaning reasonable access to the second floor. (Sorry I didn't photo what had been there...9 inch risers, narrow and some split treads) In addition, the bones of a wall, the means to add appropriate insulation and the means to separate first from second floor for more efficient heating.
What more can I now do with the second floor easily accessible? 

Wheeeee! Feels good to do a bit and a piece, to see and feel progress! 
And, that makes my studio more inviting. I can walk past the progress being made, see my sign, and think of the next small steps. 

Try it, something small every day! 

(Check out my art blog, and my website,

Monday, April 24, 2017



One of the first things I noticed when I drove into Freedom was the Great White Barn with an accompanying antique cape, sitting next to the church and across from the Village Store. Wistfully I thought, "Wouldn't it be great?" without even finishing the sentence. 

That was June 2010. In June of 2016 I moved into the the cape and started making plans for winterizing a section of the barn for my studio, and of course planning to use a major part of the barn as a gallery,
FREEDOM GALLERY...that's what the sign out front indicated.  Perfect!

The advice is common, live in a place for a year before making changes...get to know it. But the annual Freedom Old Home Week Lawn Party was held on the lawn my "new" old house, and I couldn't let the opportunity pass. Four other Freedom Artists and myself used the main room of the barn for a gallery. And then there was "Freedom Rings in the Holiday," just before Thanksgiving. Fortunately the weather was mild. With a little wine to warm our blood, and a few electric heaters, strategically placed so not to flip the circuit breakers, we were warm enough.

But such a beautiful big barn! Seeing it every time I walked out my front door, my head and heart were saying, "It needs to have more than an occasional exhibit/sale." And so it will!

I envision a busy, bustling place, not only for use as a gallery/sales room, but also a place for classes of varied sorts, throughout the year. 

Visit us at 8 Elm Street (next to the church) and

We expect to be open for Ducky Day, June 24; FreedomOldHomeWeek July 28- 5.

Watch for the Grand Opening  of MY GREAT WHITE BARN in Sept or Oct
Meanwhile, if you're looking for a landscape, (my speciality),  viewing is available by chance or by appointment. (610-762-2493) or e-mail me at

Check my website,
 and my other blog at


The Connection Continues Ashton Ingram  Artist of the Month,  September, Freedom Elementary student, 3rd grade Stop by...