I am an award-winning artist, graphic designer, and creative educator living in Calgary, Canada. My work spans multiple mediums including coloured pencil and most recently mixed media and oil paintings.
Creating art offers me a way to connect not only with the natural beauty of the world around me but to explore visuals and concepts that are meaningful to me on a personal growth level. Art has been a fulfilling way that I can focus my thoughts and energy on the things that bring me a feeling of calm.
My primary goal as a creator is to share a sense of beauty, optimism, inspiration, and compassion with collectors of my work. I believe that the art we hang on our walls is often not just for decoration, but a reflection of our inner selves and what we care about the most.
As an educator, I’m passionate about helping other artists expand their creativity and learn best practices that will help them thrive in their art businesses.
My earliest memories in life are a glimpse into what led me to become the creative that I am today. The sounds of my immigrant parents speaking in their native languages, family vacations steeped in cultural traditions, and my obsession with finding the exact right crayon to colour with are all threads in the tapestry that has informed my creative palette.
The elaborate make-believe worlds and hand-crafted sets my sister and I made for our toys were a precursor to the careers we would both eventually pursue. I credit our parents for always giving us the freedom and space to explore our creativity and imagination even if their better judgment would have preferred us to have a passion for law or medicine instead.
For a brief time my love for writing and performing music was my primary creative outlet. It wasn’t long before my inner visual artist was demanding attention in a more significant way. With the encouragement and support of my sister, I made the decision to advance my ability as an artist and learn new skills through the Visual Communications and Design program at the Alberta College of Art & Design (now Alberta University for the Arts). I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Design Degree with a specialization in Graphic Design and Illustration.
I continued to pursue art part-time while having a rewarding career as a graphic designer. In 2015, I started a blog to chronicle my journey with art and my rediscovery using coloured pencils as a fine-art medium. My reviews and articles giving other artists advice caught the attention of the editor of COLORED PENCIL Magazine, who invited me to become the monthly Q&A contributor. This experience launched a series of tremendous opportunities for me including working with brands like Staedtler and Jerry’s Artarama as well as being interviewed as a feature artist on The Sharpened Artist | Colored Pencil Podcast.
At the end of my time with the magazine in 2019, a selection of the articles that I wrote was published into a book called The Best of Barb’s Q&A – Your Questions Answered! This marked a career milestone for me with my first published book. With multiple, showcases, features, and awards won for my coloured pencil work at this point in time, I was feeling incredibly grateful for the path that art had taken me on thus far.
After a selection of guest-hosting appearances on The Sharpened Artist | Colored Pencil Podcast, I was invited in mid-2021 to be the full-time co-host alongside portrait artist and educator John Middick. Later that year, I also made the difficult decision to leave my full-time graphic design career to pursue my passion for education and art. While this leap of faith seemed daunting, I knew that I was moving toward my life’s true path.
In that same year, I also launched my custom-designed Printable Coloured Pencil Charts as a creative resource for artists who wanted an organized and concise way to find accurate and lightfast compliant colours for their artwork.
As an artist that is passionate about learning and self-development, I knew that it was time to start digging deeper into expanding my creative reach to others. My second book, Money Making Methods For Artists – 40 Ways to Diversify Your Income So That You Won’t Be a Starving Artist was released in early 2023. I’m currently working on a selection of courses in both business and artists’ techniques that I feel are essential to every creative’s growth.
My body of work has expanded into mixed media and oil paintings centered around themes that explore our connection to animals and nature. Using symbolism and mythology as inspirational propellants, the pieces are designed to serve as beautiful works with a deeper meaning that the viewer can ruminate within.
I am so optimistic and hopeful for my creative future and I feel humbled and grateful to be sharing my journey with you.
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