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Barrie Stark

IMG_0964I’ve always loved art. I give my Mother credit for that, taking me to the Washington Museum of Art when I was young as often as she could. My Mother could paint and draw very well, but never had enough time to devote to it. She taught me a few basics of drawing, and I always had a natural eye for composition, but never pursued it, because I had to make a living instead.

I started painting in the Winter of 2012, 2 years before my Mother passed away. I took a small class at a local craft store. I had never picked up a brush before that, and a light inside me lit up like fireworks! That class taught me the basics of how to start the painting, and I was amazed when I actually came away with a finished piece of art! The teacher said I had chosen the most difficult subject to paint (the story of my life), but somehow was able to put my impression of it on canvas. I had no idea it was any good, until everyone I showed it to, (perfect strangers!) told me so. I took a few lessons privately from that teacher, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I’ve never had any formal art training, I’ve been told that I just seem to have a natural instinct for portraying what I see, in a way that makes sense. “It’s a way of ‘seeing’ things.” Since I was young, I’ve always looked at the world and tried to figure out how I would draw it. Now, I look at the world and try to figure out how I would paint it.

My painting style started out as realistic, but frustrated me, because I was so focused on details, it would take me months to finish a painting. I don’t know what changed, but this past Summer, I suddenly began to paint looser, and also discovered palette knife painting. I am now finishing almost a painting a day!

Being able to paint what I see, is such a gift! It’s a way of communicating. It means I can leave something to the world when I’m gone, that gives joy to someone when they look at it. It lets me focus on the present moment and what I am creating. It calms me down, feels like a weight is lifted off my shoulders, anxiety is non-existent.

My paintings are inspired by many things, and emotions. The subjects that I paint vary widely, and are chosen by how the object or scene makes me feel. I am a great lover of the Impressionistic period, and now tend to paint in that style. Although my style of painting changes with each new piece, I am always drawn to that feeling of Impressionism and dream-like quality.

My artwork is ever evolving, just as I, as a person am ever evolving. I learn something new with each painting, and each new day, whether it is a technique, style or emotion, each one is unique. I hope to live the rest of my life in this manner.

I’m happy my Mother lived long enough to see me become an artist. I know she is with me when I am painting, and I know she is proud.

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