Thursday, May 28, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Barbara Benedetti Newton

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Barbara's painting "Ginger Pot" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Barbara's DPW Gallery Page:

"The [pastel and oil] landscapes by Barbara Benedetti Newton are suffused with gossamer colors....In these paintings she plays with the paint, sometimes feathering it out, at other times carefully defining each element of the landscape. Look for the bursts of color in many of the paintings, bursts like subtle fireworks that are powerfully effective."

Review 3/21/14, The Seattle Times, Nancy Worssam

(click to read more from Barbara's bio)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have been drawing as long as I can remember. As a child, I was apparently fascinated with women in fancy clothes because that is what I remember drawing. I have an example of that from age six.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

After high school I became a hairdresser to support myself through art school. I was then employed by a major Seattle Department Store as a Fashion Illustrator. When I married and moved to a working farm on Vashon Island near Seattle, I took a twenty year sabbatical from making art to support the farm and raise our two children.

Ginger Pot
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Barbara's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Fashion illustration in those days was mostly pen and ink. After my sabbatical, in 1990 I discovered colored pencil and worked exclusively in that medium for a decade creating still life drawings. I co-authored Colored Pencil Solution Book. When I tired of the medium, I switched my subject to landscapes and worked in pastel for the next decade and wrote Art Answers: Pastel Drawing. I work in a medium until I begin to get bored. I’m currently working primarily in oil.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? 

I have experience in and have taught pen and ink, colored pencil, watercolor, mixed media, pastel and oil. I use acrylic as under-paintings only so I would say acrylic doesn’t suit me for finished work.

Loved Ones
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I don’t hear any other mediums calling me right now though encaustic always sounds interesting.

Who or what inspires you most?

I am a fan of Ingrid Christensen, Tibor Nagey, and Colley Whisson. Watching Colley paint makes me jump up and run to my easel.

Cedar River Picnic
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I don’t procrastinate but I do re-invent. I love rearranging my studio, organizing my art database and switching mediums for a fresh start. These days I switch between pastel and oil.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I don’t thrive (and neither does my work) on long days in the studio. If I can paint a couple hours a day I’m happy.

Yellow Mug with Lemon
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

For me in the past, the medium seemed to dictate the subject. I couldn’t imagine creating a landscape in colored pencil and with pastel I intuitively gravitated to landscape. Oil paint has been the exception and I’m happy with almost any subject.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging? 

I paint when I feel like painting, not as if it is a job or an obligation. That is why I cut my gallery representation from six to three and I no longer enter competitions. Changing the size of my work helps. Painting really big or very small is stimulating.

(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist? 

I’m interested in the value and temperature of paint to lead the viewer into and around a scene. Nuanced color and value is exciting and simplification of a scene is my current challenge.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happiest when I paint with abandon, make confident choices of hue, value and temperature and walk away from the easel while the scene is fresh.

Thanks, Barbara!

© 2020 Sophie Marine


  1. Your work is beautiful and so fresh. Thanks,

    1. Thank you Pat. I've been with DPW for 10 years and am a fan of the opportunity they provide for artists and buyers.

  2. Sophie, thanks so much for featuring my work this week!