Barbara in Person
I was born and raised in Elyria, a small city in northeast Ohio. After graduating high school I trained as an x-ray technician at Elyria Hospital, where I worked from 1969 through 1974.
As a self-taught artist, I place the beginning of my professional career in 1976, when I both gained my first gallery representation in Rockport, Massachusetts, and had a painting accepted into the permanent collection of the Massilion (Ohio) Art Museum. My first solo show was held in 1979 at the Rockport Art Association in Massachusetts.
Through the years I have actively shown my work in galleries and at prestigious art fairs not only in the Midwestern states of Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, and Ohio, but also in the nation’s capital and New York City. Beginning in 1996 I began to show extensively in Florida’s major art cities: Fort Myers, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Naples and Miami. Through the venues in which I chose to exhibit, my paintings have to date found their way into dozens of private and public collections throughout the United States.
My earliest work was in landscape and my medium was watercolor. As a young wife and mother, I took my formal art instruction in workshops whose instructors were not only at the top of their form as artists, but who also worked within proximity of my Ohio home.
The first of these was Fred Leach, a member of the American Watercolor Society and a recipient of that body’s Dolphin Fellowship. Under his direction in 1976 I learned that space can be implied through restraint rather than over-reliance on detail.
In 1982 I learned from another A.W.S. member, Lowell Ellsworth Smith, how to create subtle variations of color and texture in massive forms.
As I eventually broadened my personal outlook through travel, my artistic horizon widened, as well.
In 1993 watercolorist Christopher Schink assisted me in my desire to move away from literal representation to a pared down abstraction of natural form and a more personal use of color.
By 1999 I was working larger and more abstractly than ever, and had made opaque paint on canvas, along with watercolor, my medium of choice.
In that year a week-long workshop with Graham Nickson, a painter educated at the Royal College of Art in London. A recipient of the Prix de Rome and the Harkness Fellowship at Yale University, Nickson is celebrated for his monumental canvases whose figural abstractions place the human form against vast blocks of land and sea. The atmosphere in his paintings is felt, rather than seen. His sense of space and his palette made an indelible impression on my own work.
Since 2012 my large painting in acrylic on canvas has become more minimal and my color more sensuous.