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Barns immortalized in Belle Vernon resident's paintings

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By Emma Jene Lelik
Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Sabra Clark of Belle Vernon has a penchant for rural barns — and a talent for painting them.

With her husband, George, as chauffeur, she has explored much of Rostraver Township over the years, searching for interesting barns.

If there is a home on the property, she asks permission to photograph the barn. Then she delves into her favorite hobby and begins the artwork.

“I paint mostly in the evenings when all is quiet,” she says.

Sabra Clark joined the Mon Valley Art Club 39 years ago and serves as treasurer. She shows her work in their annual exhibits and special displays.

Many of the barns Clark has painted have been either torn down or burned, making her work lasting treasures.

One of her most admired paintings is the one she describes simply as “the old horse barn” between the old and new Routes 70.

“Before they built I-70, that section of Rostraver Township was farmland,” George Clark explains.

“It so happened when the new interstate was built, this particular barn was wedged between the old and new routes, just before Route 51,” he stated.

Sabra Clark's photograph and painting of “the old horse barn” are sentimental favorites as only the foundation of that structure remains today. She presumes the top has been torn down.

Another of her works she can more clearly identify.

“It is the Patterson barn and we found it off Route 201,” Sabra Clark said.

“I got permission from the old gentleman there to take a picture of the barn so I could paint it.

“That was years ago and I know he and a daughter I had known have passed away.”

The Clarks think that barn burned down in recent years.

But Sabra Clark's giant painting of “The Patterson Barn” still exists.

She has donated it to the St. Vincent de Paul Mon Valley Council, where it can be viewed at their store in Monessen.

It is also for sale and if purchased, the money will be used by St. Vincent de Paul Council in its mission to aid the poor.

Valley Art Club's 71st annual public exhibit is being planned for Sept. 23 to Oct. 4 at Monessen Public Library.

Sabra Clark isn't sure yet which of her many barn paintings she will place in the show.

Emma Jene Lelik is a free-lance writer.

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