Crisp autumn leaves are not only a sign that fall has arrived but it’s also the reminder that artistic creativity is blooming across the region. The Art Map’s upcoming Open Studio weekend is another fantastic opportunity to explore the beautiful countryside while getting up-close and personal with more than 50 featured Artists, studios & Galleries on the 2012 Art Map.
Start your Open Studio long weekend off with inspiration from painter & graphic designer Barbara Pearn, who’s ability to create rich paintings full of bold colours and natural imagery will certainly give autumn a run for its money!
Under the Sympathetic Sky, Barbara Pearn Oil on Canvas 2012
How did you first get started in graphic design? In grade five I decided I wanted to be a commercial artist. I had a teacher who taught our class how to draw people's faces and that's when I knew I loved to draw and realized that I was fairly good at it. My practical thinking encouraged me to go to college to study graphic design. I've been a graphic designer ever since.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your paintings and palette? Mainly, I draw inspiration from the natural rural environment I live in. It's seems to be constantly trying to grab my attention! Every time I go for a walk or a drive, I see something that I could paint. I also like to snap pictures from the car while my husband is driving. The random, unplanned results achieved in these photographs create interesting reference points for my paintings. I am very much inspired by the paintings of Tom Thomson and Van Gogh, as I admire their fearless, deliberate brush strokes & bold use of colour.
What does being creative mean to you? I believe creativity is inspiration from the universe that comes usually on it's own without effort. It's like a wise friend that offers a suggestion. Then it's up to me to accept the idea or not.
Many of your paintings feature bold and graphic sensibilities. Do your paintings and web design works ever influence one another? My graphic design training encourages me to examine images differently. I predominately see shapes and areas of colour instead of trees and the background. I'm often drawn to simple scenes with interesting colour layers or lighting- such as a view across several fields of different colours planes or receding hills with gradient colours. The graphic and the painterly come together throughout my work.
Do you work independently on one piece of art until completion- or do you find it useful to work in multiples? I tend to paint one painting at a time. I focus on one painting and unlike the inspiration of creativity coming to me, putting something on canvas usually requires a lot of thought for me. Can you describe the moment when you first realized that being creative was something you absolutely had to do? I've always been an independent thinker and I knew quite young that it was important for me. Being able to express my creativity my way makes me happy. Which artistic medium have you always wanted to explore? I've often thought about making glass beads. I love the look of glass and the way it catches the light- this truly fascinates me.
How do creative sparks come to you? They arrive when I am quiet and not thinking about other things. There is value in having quiet moments for sure. Quiet moments can certainly be rare! What is the most challenging aspect to having a career in the arts? Art is subjective. People have their own opinions about what is good art or not. In graphic design, clients have their own opinion about your work. It's something you have to deal with and not take personally. Do you always paint in the same location and is this routine important to you? I often paint in different locations. What is important to me is to start the painting the right way on the canvas. The location doesn't matter.
Once you’ve created, developed and built a work of art, how do you decide when it's finally completed? It's finished when it's at the point where I like it and there is nothing standing out to me that looks off. I tell people that I stop at the point where the painting is 90% done. I have overworked paintings and put in too much detail. I have to make a concentrated effort not to do this.
What advice has influenced your creative spirit? Listen to your inner voice. I can't say that anyone in particular gave me this advice, but it's something I've learned to do over the years. It’s interesting to reflect on where it takes you when you take the time to carefully listen. Barbara's impressionist bold palette can be viewed across the region including at her studio and as part of the Saugeen Artists group. Visit Barbara during the October 6th & 7th, 2012 Open Studio weekend at her studio in Eugenia.
by Erin, our guest blogger.