A b o u t

Barbara in her Studio.

Barbara in her Studio.

Opening new worlds through painting feels inspiring . Please join me as I create new places and characters inspired by international travel, back country expeditions and dramatic lighting. I find myself most in my element when I let go and trust the process whether working on a custom portrait or a landscape painting.  I learned many years ago that if you surprise yourself you surprise your audience - in the best possible way.  And isn't that what we all want, to be cracked open and feel creatively inspired? In addition to painting I have been writting creatively for years. I've begun to share the written stories behind this work. You'll find those stories in my newsletter. Please feel free to sign up and join my community. 


When I think of painting I think of serendipity.  I  first began to draw when I paralyzed my left hand in an accident at work. I was 18 and had spent years developing acting and directing skills and only became aware of how valuable my hands were as I lost the use of one. As I kept my left hand elevated I played with drawing and tried to copy Roger Dean's 'Yes' album cover art with my right hand.  I knew I didn't know what I was doing. And not knowing was the perfect space for me to learn and play. I enjoyed it so much I took a few classes in college. One professor recommended I  attend a small art school.  I had plans to go to Kathmandu Nepal to make a documentary film and a paint a series of landscapes. I visited the art school when I returned. 

I arrived at art school set on learning to draw well.  The other students were amazing, yet their work looked very similar - and mine stood out as being very, very different. I didn't know how to respond. One teacher used a razor blade to 'fix' my work as he insisted there was a 'right' way to paint.  He was determined to control my process completely, but when I tried his approach I was bored and I lost interest. Instead I leaned to draw from my amazingly skilled classmates who were generous and supportive. Realizing this was not the place for me, I B-lined back to college in search of another way to pursue my interests. I chose to study anthropology because I knew and trusted the professors who sent me to Nepal to make a film and paint. I focused on the intersection of art and culture. I worked at an archaeology site saw the community reconnect with their ancestry by creating a museum and educational programs for their children.  It was very positive.

I spent years developing the skills I have today, showing and selling work in all manner of venues.   I developed a drawing program for 3rd grade students and took my own skills to the next level. It required both technical aptitude and mindset to find my creative flow. It was a pleasure to teach this process to elementary school students.

As I worked through various creative blocks (I never drew in elementary school for example), I discovered how we give ourselves permission to develop skills or take that permission away. I walked into the elementary schools to teach in the first place was because I wanted children to learn the value of developing their creative skills and to experience how valuable those skills were personally. I wanted them to know drawing was a learned skill. Their teachers taught them to write stories, and then assigned them to make illustrated stories. Nobody taught the illustration component. Year after year students who learned at home were showcased as if they had 'natural talent.'  I never drew before my accident, because I had been ashamed of how bad my illustrations were. And the students I met at art school were the kids whose drawings had been shown off. It made perfect sense.  I went into the schools to break that cycle by telling students that drawing was a skill and showing them how to learn. 

Today I have a blog and newsletter that focuses on the creative process and overcoming creative blocks. I am determined to help others talk about this subject because it is something we all benefit from. Every artist I know has had to work through this in their own way and I celebrate that effort. CEO's of companies want their creative employees to thrive.  They regularly concern themselves with the most efficient flow of creativity. It's an important topic.  My blog is available on this website.

I invite you to join this conversation. I'd love to hear your ideas also. Just e-mail me at barbara@barbaraferrier.com.