From Barbie's DPW Page:
A native of California, Barbie Smith is an oil painter whose love of color and beauty is reflected in her work. She finds inspiration in the endless wonder of God's creation and tries to reflect that beauty in her paintings. She looks for any subject with a strong design element including patterns of light and shadow or bold contrast of color or value. Her work is often described as that which evokes a sense of peacefulness and tranquility for the viewer. (click to read more)
Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.
Art has always been an important part of my life. Drawing was my favorite activity as a child and when I began college I had the opportunity to pursue an education in art. At that time we were encouraged to paint with Acrylics. I learned some of the fundamentals of painting and even painted some murals but eventually I decided to get my degree in nursing.
Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?
Raising my three children became my focus for many years. I served as art docent in their school and designed the sets for musical productions at our church but the desire to paint never left. I would wander through galleries and think to myself, “I could do this” but I really needed someone to get me started. I was actually wandering through a gallery when I met someone who would do just that. She was painting a demo and I was captivated by her beautiful work. I began to take lessons in oil painting and since then I have pursued art with a passion.
(click to view)
Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Barbie's interview.
What mediums and genres have you experimented with?
I was introduced to acrylics in my college years and they were great for mural painting. I took a few lessons in watercolor but fell in love with oils after my first lesson. I have tried water soluble oils for traveling but I prefer traditional oils. I have painted landscape, cityscape, coastal, animals and recently have begun to devote more time to still life. It is quite a challenge to choose and arrange the objects, decide on a color scheme and lighting and then paint from life. I also belong to several plein air groups.
Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?
Today I only paint with oils and still enjoy the many genres that I mentioned above. There are so many subjects that excite me and I like the freedom to explore and paint anything that inspires me.
|Last Light at Point Lobos|
(click to view)
Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?
The medium that I really want to explore next is gouache. From what I understand it is similar to both watercolor and acrylic having some of the characteristics of both. I have a brand new set of gouache and I’m looking forward to learning the techniques so I can have another option for plein air painting.
Who or what inspires you most?
The beauty of God’s creation is my inspiration and since I have become a painter my appreciation for nature and my surroundings has grown immensely. I especially love peaceful countryside landscapes, vineyards, and gardens, as well as the architecture of houses, buildings, fountains and statues. I am also inspired by the work of other artists and especially those who paint in an expressive, painterly style.
(click to view)
What does procrastination look like for you?
Procrastination is something I struggle with every day as I watch precious hours slip away while repeatedly checking my phone or doing another google search. Having high expectations for my paintings keeps me from getting right to work but I am learning not to expect perfection. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.
What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?
Approaching each new painting as practice rather than performance helps me to relax and enjoy the process. Getting to the easel as early as possible helps me to make time for painting. That way I don’t let other things steal my time and leave me feeling frustrated and defeated. If I paint early then I feel I have accomplished my purpose for the day and I like to set my finished painting in the kitchen so I can look at it while I am cooking or cleaning and feel a sense of satisfaction.
(click to view)
How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?
There is nothing more frustrating than to have the time to paint but no idea what to paint. Choosing what to paint the day before keeps me from wasting precious time. Keeping a photo file of my most inspirational photos can help me to avoid endless scrolling through years of images. Most of my ideas come from places that I have visited or sightseeing trips with my husband. I am very intentional when I visit an area about keeping my eyes open and my camera ready. Fortunately, my husband doesn’t mind pulling over or turning the car around so I can take pictures of the cows by the roadside or the light on the vineyards. I also like to paint on location as often as possible so I will scout the area and take photos before I begin. Painting isn’t always about finding the perfect scene or subject but about bringing out the hidden beauty that may not be obvious.
How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?
Keeping my art fresh means keeping it simple and not overworking it or adding more detail than it needs. It means putting the paint down intentionally and not second guessing my myself. Trying new techniques, studying other artists, taking workshops and visiting museums all help to bring new life to my art.
|On Your Toes|
(click to view)
What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?
Recently I have been learning to put more paint down and manipulate it as if I were sculpting with paint. This allows me to play with the paint and see what it can do instead of being fearful of making a mistake.
What makes you happiest about your art?
My art gives me something to look forward to every day. It takes my mind to a peaceful place where my focus is on beauty. There is never ending potential for growth and learning and great satisfaction when someone tells me how much they enjoy having my art in their home.
© 2019 Sophie Marine