She does it for the joy.Barb McDonald is an artist who does art, and who shares her love of creative work with others.
For Barb, the experience of art and of creating is about communicating and sharing human emotion. And, it's about the joy.
Barb explains: "It's the 70-year-old deaf man who told me that he couldn't paint."
But with Barb's help, in just one session of pallet and brush, he painted a landscape. When he looked at the work he had created, "He just started crying," said Barb.
For her, art is about the high school student with a speech impediment who had struggled with self-expression and communication. Now, she has gone on to win a regional art competition with her work.
Barb's private studio sits on the edge of Peach Valley. It is surrounded by artistic inspiration in every direction.
The studio's wide, tall windows open to ever renewing vistas of the San Juan Range, the Uncompahgre Plateau, the west escarpment of Gunnison Gorge and Grand Mesa. There is a welcoming wood stove that provides the perfect comfort for her year-round creative endeavors.
A landscape artist in Barb's studio could find a lifetime of new subjects in the constant interplay of land and sky, and of clouds and light. The studio's natural setting,
combined with Barb's heart for seeing people experience success and self discovery, has created a center of artistic aspiration and expression.
The joy of Barb's art is about the troubled youth who attended one of her classes at the Bill Heddles Recreation Center. When he saw the painting he had made on his very first try, it was almost like his life had changed forever.
For the first time, he discovered skill of his own and had seen an object of beauty come from his own effort. He was amazed and changed at what he had discovered within himself.
That is the real joy of art for Barb; sharing with others on the deepest and most personal level.
Barb was once a seeking but unsuccessful artist herself. She had a powerful creative determination to paint but was unable to discover a way to express that energy onto canvas.
She still has her first attempt at painting. It was a meticulous, arduous, six-month-long effort at drawing a picture with brush and paint. The effort simply did not satisfy her creative longings.
She didn't give up. She sought out teachers, but their techniques and styles simply wouldn't work for her.
Today, Barb has mastered a painting technique that, when applied to canvas with a few basic artists' tools, enables anyone who ever wanted to be an artist to be one, and to be one the very first time they try.
Barb had discovered a style of landscape painting pioneered by Bill Alexander and continued by Bob Ross.It is a style that uses a special canvas prep technique and paints that make the act of applying paint more free flowing for the artist – intuitive and almost effortless.
Barb pursued instruction in the technique and then became a certified practitioner.
Newcomers to the technique can easily complete a very good painting in just a few hours on their very first try. That kind of success is a powerful encouragement to anyone who has ever wanted to express themselves artistically but has never been taught how.
Barb's technique further simplifies the painting process by using a minimal number of brushes to create desired effects on canvas. The pallette knife is also used to apply paint.
Preparation of the canvas and learning how to load painton the brushes and apply it to the work are the keys to this method. Everything else needed comes from within the artists themselves.
"Really and truly," Barb explains, "it is all in how you use the brushes. Anyone can paint."
Barb's friend, Stephanie Gilbert of Montrose, learned the technique from Barb, as did another friend, Sharon Albin of Placerville.
Gilbert said, "It is just a fabulous feeling to complete a real painting in one sitting." And, she adds with a good-natured laugh, "It's a painting of something you can actually recognize!"
Albin said, "I never had art instruction before, and to sit down and complete a painting was just really amazing."
And for Barb there's the joy. "I love teaching. I love totouch people in that way," she says. "There is no amount of money that could ever compensate you for that feeling, of joy. I just hope that I can live up to it every day of my life. blog comments powered by Disqus