Featured Artist – Barbara Clark

Please introduce yourself and describe your background

I am a painter who loves the outdoors and is grateful to get to do what I love. I am grateful because I understand what it is to get in the car every morning and talk myself into one more day of the daily grind.  I have been a house cleaner, a customer service clerk for an insurance company, a rental car rep, and assistant manager for a retail art gallery. I put myself through college at the age of 30 by being the “girl” for a wealthy family in New York. In college I learned the trade of accounting and subsequently opened my own bookkeeping business until my best client hired me away from my own company.  That company was sold in 2006 and now I get to paint!  It was not easy getting here, but this is where I was always meant to be.  Geographically, mentally, and emotionally.  Everything I’ve been through has put me in this very time and place.  And I’m grateful to be here!  I wish the same for everyone!

What is your earliest memory of creating art?

High School!  I had the best art teacher in the world.  She treated me like a prodigy.  She ordered materials for me to experiment with.  She invited me into her home where we took turns cooking dinner for her brood after school while the other got to play with art.  She was a friend and a mentor. She gave me a set of keys to the art lab to keep me out of trouble and keep me creating. I was incredibly lucky to have known her.  Thank you, Virginia Fitzgibbon.

Describe your primary medium and why you’ve chosen it for your artwork

Oil painting, en plein air.  Because I love the buttery texture and the richness of oil paints.

What other media have you used?

I started with pastels, but the dust is too hard on my lungs.  I currently paint with gouache and watercolor in addition to oils.  I’ve been known to experiment with paint sticks, acrylics, and found objects.

Describe your artwork in 10 words or less

Rich, colorful oil paintings distilling the landscape into basic shapes.

What inspires your work?

Color and light.

If you could spend the day with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Any artist: I’d happily spend the day with my art teacher from High School.  I never got to tell her how important she was in my life.

Do you show your work commercially?  If so, where? 

I co-own Corrales Fine Arts, in Corrales and also show at Et Cetera, Gallery Tamaya, The Abiquiu Inn and several locations of The Range.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I’m an introvert.

What advice would you offer younger artists just beginning their art careers?

Understand your market.  Understand basic bookkeeping.  Pick 5 artists, dead or alive, whom you admire.  Study their work.  Strive to incorporate what they do that appeals to you into your own individual style. Develop your own hand and don’t copy.  To copy doesn’t do justice to yourself or the artist you are plagiarizing.