How to draw a barn (on fire)

    An artist breaks down her favourite painting into 6 simple steps for even the most artistically challenged.

    By Lisa Cook. Drawings by Erin Ross, on December 10, 2018

    How to draw a barn (on fire)

    An artist breaks down her favourite painting into 6 simple steps for even the most artistically challenged.

    By Lisa Cook. Drawings by Erin Ross.

    If you’ve seen her paintings or follow her on Instagram, you have surely seen her fire work. “It’s an extension of my landscape practice,” says Erin Ross, ’06 BFA. “These paintings present moments of tragedy we bond over, cry over, feel alive over, and create stories we pass from generation to generation over.” Ross lets other grads into the inner circle by taking one of her favourite fire paintings and breaking it down into simple steps. Follow along with Ross but feel free to get creative, she adds. “We’re setting it on fire, after all.”

    1. Draw a square. Give it a pointy triangle hat. This is the face of your barn.


    2. Draw three horizontal lines of equal length to the left from each corner of the barn face. Connect those lines vertically. This is your barn side.


    3. Draw a bunch more vertical lines (like bars on a cage). Here, I’ve drawn five on the side and six on the front.


    4. Draw a horizontal line across the middle then four horizontal lines across the roof on the side (like a slanted checkerboard). Next, block out some windows and a door.


    5. Colour the windows in black. Add some squiggly lines at the base of your barn; this is the grass. Add a line for the horizon and some more squiggles for wispy clouds.


    6. Burn it to the ground. Fire and smoke can appear weightless and dense at the same time; make some organic shapes, add dots, shading, more lines. Just have fun!