Artist Ray McBride donates original barn paintings for Historical Society auction and calendar
By Margie Doyle
Harvest home, heading for the barn — in the fall the cooling temperatures and bright foliage naturally turn our thoughts to our agricultural heritage, no matter how contemporary or urban our lives may now be.
The Orcas Island Historical Society is highlighting that heritage on the second weekend in October with self-guided tours of historic island barns on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13-14.
The seven barns featured on the tour are:
- Lehman/Piaget Barn
- Skyloft Ranch Barn
- Chalmers/Schmidt barn
- Hambly Apple House
- Buildford/Brennan barn
- Coffer Barn at Camp Orkila
- Jorgensen/Knapp barn
Talks, videos and demonstrations are scheduled throughout the weekend; information and directions are available with purchase of the Barn Tour Tickets. Historical Society Member Margot Shaw says, “The Barn Tour is a benefit for the Historical Society. In turn, it is hoped that tour-goers will benefit from a better understanding of the place of barns, both in the past and into the future.” The cost is reduced to Historical Society members to $15. Children under 12 are admitted free with a ticketed adult.
Admission to the Barn Dance on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the West Sound Community Hall at 7 p.m., is also discounted to $5 for barn tour ticket holders.
Tickets may be purchased at the Historical Museum (376-4849), the Chamber of Commerce, the Art of the Salish Sea shop, or on-line at orcasmuseum.org. Shaw says, “The sooner you purchase a ticket, the better chance you’ll have to win a prize from a weekly drawing of purchased ticket numbers to date!”
The Barn Tour features several barns that have been drawn by lifetime artist and art teacher Ray McBride; who has donated several of the paintings for the Historical Society to auction.
McBride tells a familiar story of “Love at First Sight” on Orcas Island. When he first came to Orcas 22 years ago to visit his friend Scott Horner, “I was smitten the minute I hopped off the ferry,” he says. “I felt, ‘I’m home,’ and had the distinct feeling I’d been here 100 years ago.”
As he traveled about the island he became further captivated by “the richness of the history and beauty of the barns.” He drew 12 of the barns that most interested him between 1984 and 1987.
McBride, who has painted and written since childhood and taught art most of his adult years, grew to specialize in pen and ink “because of the definitive quality” of that medium. Now McBride, who was this summer’s watchman at Roche Harbor Resort, lives in Oregon. He has written a book of his “adventures into compassion and love from fear and anger,” titled Temple of the Rainbow, (or as the e-book Escape from Ahtam Sar). Now he is working on a sequel to that book, Dedicated to You, as well as his memoir, The Book of Ray. McBride is a member of the clergy of Eckankar, “the religion of light and sound.”
Several years ago Orcas Historical Society archivist Edrie Vinson remembered McBride’s paintings and this year, she says, is “the perfect time to print the barn calendar.” When McBride was asked for permission to use the paintings for the Society’s 2013 calendar, he quickly agreed, and also donated five of the originals to the Historical Society. “We were blown away by how beautiful the paintings were,” said Vinson.
The tour will include a special exhibit at the Historical Museum featuring farm implements and scenes from Orcas farmlands of the past. A silent auction will be conducted in the museum corridor both Saturday and Sunday. McBride’s five original paintings will be up for bids, along with other offerings. The tour organizers urge everyone to “bid high, and often”!
The 2013 Barn Calendar is on sale for $12 at the Museum in Eastsound, and features the following barns:
- Doak/Sofaer barn in Buck Bay
- Waldrip/Burton barn in Eastsound
- Mathesius/Fleicher barn in Crow Valley
- Hall/Orser barn in Doe Bay
- Englehartson/Thompson-Morris barn in West Beach
- Smedberg/Coffelt barn
- Hambly “apple house” in Crow Valley
- Chalmers/Schmidt barn in Crow Valley
- Tulloch/Youngren barn blown down in 1995
- Loos/Lavendar barn, moved from Indian Point to Eastsound in the 1950s
- and two unidentified barns (name them and receive a free membership to the Historical Society and Museum)
For further information, visit the Museum at 181 North Beach Road, the website at orcasmuseum.org, or phone 376-4849.