Barbara you have a wide range of artistic talents. You have painted for many years, and those years of work show some fabulous art. Color is your thing and that is very clear. You have always enjoyed manipulating color wherever you can put your hands on it…even in the hair salon! You have not only painted, but additionally been an artists’ model. So you know a lot of facets to this work of creativity.
BW: Thank you Kim, for selecting me to be a part of your interview feature. I find it very interesting to learn about others and their path along the creative road, so this feature has really intrigued me.
A Patch of Blue
K: Will you tell us about your early experiences with art?
BW: Well, as is true probably with most artists, I've created since childhood. My greatest treasure was a box of crayons, and the bigger the better! I colored, drew, and finger painted my way to high school, where art class was the high spot in my day. I can't remember a time I wasn't involved in creating art in some form or another, be it painting, hair design, or making draperies for my daughter's dining room.
Painting Out Loud
K: What other paths lead you to the place where you are now?
BW: My first encounter with the adult art world came about when I was asked to model for painting classes at the Kansas City Art Institute. As I sat for hours, I fell in love with the smell of oil paint, and the entire atmosphere of artists at work. At that point I was hooked, and knew that someday I would be an oil painter, although the oils didn't come into play for several years.
K: I love this story. It is very familiar to me, as well…falling in love by being in an environment.
Collage in Green
K: Why do you think you continued to paint?
BW: I've continued to paint, because I can't not paint! I'm seldom happier than when at the easel, and begin to feel a certain something is missing if for several days I'm unable to be in the studio, doing something, however minor it might be.
K: It is lovely to be so in love with your work. I can say it really shows when this happens.
K: You work with a lot of different media. Will you talk about that a bit along with the tools you like to use?
BW: I do work in a lot of different media, yes. These include oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor, and oil pastel. I find it fascinating to explore all the possibilities and the experiments, as well as the results obtained with each media. They are all so different.
As you know, my work is 'all over the place', and
I have been encouraged on more than one occasion to "find what I want to be, and what I want to do, and stay with it", in order to develop a unique style. A signature, if you will. This would be very boring for me, as personally, I basically paint for me,,,, what makes me happy. If other people enjoy what I do, then that's the cherry on the whipped cream!
I get very excited with new Art Toys,,,,and can't wait to try them out and see where they take me.
My favorite tool is a paint knife, and any object or tool that can be used as a paint knife. Some have been quite unusual! I love heavy texture and impasto in oil paintings,,,and would probably use oils exclusively,,,,,but I don't always have the patience for the drying time. Also, acrylic is much more satisfying in the mixed media pieces I've done, due to the faster drying.
K: I love new ART TOYS, too! I find wandering in an art supply shop or online is very inspirational. I also agree with you about making your art for yourself and not following anyone’s idea of how it should progress. We all work differently, but this way works well for you. I also think as we get older, we find there are different reasons for doing what we love and we are going to do things the way that suits us…we have so much less to loose than when we were younger. You know?
K: You paint realistically and abstractly. You seem to prefer abstracts, though, is that true? Why do you think so?
BW: Well, actually, I feel that some of my work is more impressionist, rather than realistic, Kim. I greatly admire the talent required to create realism, but it's never been what I've wanted to do. I've always been drawn to the abstract, and I couldn't tell you why. I strive to create the type of art that I myself enjoy viewing. Abstract, expressionist, and non-representational have always been my love, and my focus. I am fascinated when a piece draws me in, makes me look deeper, and possibly search for what the artist was feeling. I do however love to see all the brush strokes, the various marks, the hand of the artist at work in any style of art.
K: Yes, I can see how you could see it as impressionistic. I can imagine you probably think abstractly, so visual abstraction just comes naturally to you. When you paint from intuition, I think it naturally translates into some form of abstract work. Now that I have said that, someone will correct me on that statement. You have a great appreciation for all kinds of art. That is clear.
K: Recently you have started painting smaller. How did you begin with that? Are you enjoying it?
BW: The smaller pieces I've recently been painting have been really fun, and I'm sure I'll continue to do those. It was quite a challenge in the beginning, but I was encouraged by a friend and fellow artist to continue, keep practicing, and I've really been glad I did. (Thank you, Lynnie!). They are great to pick up and work on as something else is drying,,,,,,but often I get carried away with them, and they can be very time consuming!
K: And it is wonderful you are finding success with sales of these in your new ETSY shop , too.
K: You have also started using a lot of screen and paint skins in your work. How did that all start? Do you have more of those planned?
BW: The mixed media and collage work is a blast! Using found objects such as that wire screening opens up a whole new world of possibilities. I love twisting and tearing the wire, and manipulating it into shapes that add to the over all composition. The paint skins can add a 'quirkiness' of shape and form that either adds texture, or that become focal points in t and of themselves. I am currently getting my thoughts together for a medium sized commissioned collage. I will be working with a previously painted watercolor, and adding screening, and other collage elements.
K: Babs, this is wonderful. I am eager to see this larger piece.
Painting Out Loud II
K: How do you like to work…studio conditions, time of day, people around or not, etc.
BW: I find that I really must be alone, without distractions to work. So much of what I do is intuitive, and I need the solitude to free my mind and get into that place. I am not at all a 'morning person', so as with everything else in my life, I am at my artistic best later in the day, often into the late night.
K: You are so generous with your encouragement to other artists and I know a lot of them look to you for honesty when you speak. Do you ever find it difficult to come up with something to say to someone?
BW: Thank you, Kim. I have to say that I feel there is something to admire in any art, even if it's simply the way in which one color was put down in relation to another. Often, the smallest encouragement can mean a great deal to the person creating. Sometimes, it's what keeps us all going!
Being a self taught artist, I try to encourage others to keep trying, experimenting, looking for ways to improve, as the encouragement of others has many times been what keeps me 'throwing the paint around'. I feel that no matter who or where we are in the process, there's always more to learn. Sometimes we all need the pat on the back!
K: You are so right about that. You are a very kind and generous person.
K: Can you tell us about any experiences with shows or sales which are particularly interesting?
BW: I'm laughing, Kim,,,,, recalling a story I could tell you about an outdoor show in which all our 50 tents were blown away in a huge storm,,,but I doubt we have the space here!
Suffice it to say it was more than interesting!
As for sales, everyone knows that there is no feeling that compares to someone liking your work enough to put down their money in order to take it home! That said, I would still be painting, stacking them up, covering my own walls, if I never sold another piece. The joy is in the process!
K: Oh Boy! I would love to hear that story. I totally agree “The Joy is in the Process!” That quote is also on your blog, if I remember correctly.
K: What is your favorite painting you have done?
BW: I really don't think I have a favorite painting that I've done. I'd like to think it's still in my future. Of course there are some that I've liked more than others, and some that I've sold that I didn't much care for at all! I do have a graphite portrait that I did of my daughter when she was seventeen that I wouldn't part with, so I suppose I'm wrong,,,,,that one would be a favorite
K: Our children are such inspirations. I can imagine your daughter’s portrait is very special to many people. And it is probably very private, too.
K: I ask this question a lot, but what do you think was the most helpful in finding your artistic voice?
BW: You mentioned the Hair Salon. Owning my own business has been an excellent teacher of discipline and dedication, which also applies to the art world. It's also played a large role in my artistic development, as coloring hair, and coloring on canvas both require a lot of the same thought processes. Color theory, color mixing, hues, values, and depth are all terms interchangeable in both realms. There's also a certain sense of rhythm, and balance, whether it be in cutting, coloring or designing hair,,,,or working a paint brush or knife.
K: I have had this conversation with the woman who cuts my hair…how our professions are the same. While there is no way I would take up the scissors to cut hair, I can totally understand the art.
K: What inspires you?
BW: Oh, I am inspired by so many things! A song,,,or just it's lyrics, a shadow on the sidewalk, or just a vague and random thought. I have an on-going series of work entitled "Internal Landscape". These paintings are so called, as they are inspired by emotions. Mine or those of others.
K: I love that title… “Internal Landscape”…perfect!
K: Do you have favorite artists?
BW: Boy, do I have favorites! Too many to name actually,,,and I think it changes all the time too. Recently I was at a hotel filled with amazing abstracts by artists I've never heard of,,,,and at least for that weekend, they were my favorite.
K: Oh you sound so like me…too many to name.
Sunrise for Faye
K: I know you also like poetry. Do you write any? Do you ever find yourself painting in response to a poem you have read?
BW: I do love poetry, yes. In the style of Rod McKuen, and the musical poetry of Leonard Cohen, and (yes, really!) Willie Nelson. I've recently discovered the poetry of a Blogger member named Singleton, whose mingling of the words amazes me! I have written some poetry in the past, but it's been quite some time ago. I also enjoy writing whimsical limericks for friends and family, mostly my three sisters. I painted an aceo in response to Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne", and also one in response to Willie's "Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground".
K: Oh I believe you…I am also a fan of Willie Nelson! He is very much a poet with his songs.
K: What else would you like to share with us?
BW: I woujld like to share my favorite expression and encourage everyone to "Expect A Miracle". We receive them daily, if we know where to look!
Babs, you are so right! That is a beautiful way to end an incredible conversation. Thank you for your wise, wonderful insights. This has been an honor for me. I want to encourage everyone to visit your blog.