Paintings by Barbara Powell Paintings in Watercolor and acrylic
Key West art, Block Island art, Figure paintings (Old Friends), People, From My Travels


My life as a painter did not begin in childhood or even during my high school or college years.  Although my grandmother was an artist and produced some admirable work, there was no art education in the country school I attended in Dexter, Missouri (down in the bootheel), where my father was an attorney.  I took every course the high school offered, which did not include art.  I graduated from Wellesley College and later earned a Master’s degree from Columbia and a Ph.D. from Fordham, when the youngest of my four children was fifteen.  I have published seven books and numerous magazine articles, primarily in the field of psychology.


Along the way, when I had two young children, I began attending watercolor classes on Saturday with Herb Olsen, a wonderful painter and teacher.   I continued while working on my Master’s degree but had to abandon art when I once more returned to school to earn my Ph.D.  After establishing  a practice in clinical psychology I again began to paint, taking classes with Diane Faxon and  workshops with Charles Reid, Burt Silverman, Frank Webb, Jean Grastorf and others.  For a while I regularly attended Springmaid Beach workshops in Myrtle Beach.


I lived in Fairfield County, Connecticut, for most of those years, for several of them next door to the Silvermine Guild of Art in New Canaan, where I became an artist member.  Eventually I acquired a beach house on Block Island, Rhode Island, and it was then that I began to think of myself  primarily as an artist.   I specialized in commissions of children playing on the beach.  Of course, I painted lighthouses and Victorian buildings too. And I became a member of the Rhode Island Watercolor Society.  I had several one-person shows at The Ragged Sailor and The Eisenhower Gallery.


When I decided that I had survived enough  Northern winters, I moved to another island, Key West. Although I am a licensed psychologist in Florida, here I consider myself a full-time painter.  My work is in Gallery Key West and the Key West Art Center.  In 2009 I also had a painting in the Florida Watercolor Society’s annual exhibit. 


I have often been told that my paintings are “joyous” or “happy”.  I suppose this is due to my love of bold color and my fondness for catching people in action.  Wherever I go I  seek personal subject matter and seldom leave home without a camera (one a little larger than a credit card).  I do not enjoy plein air painting but prefer working in my studio where I do not have to contend with shifting light.  My best friends in my work are my camera and my Mac, which I use as an aid to composition and design. I took the shot on which Tour de France, Paris 2009 is based with my tiny camera  from behind the guard rail on the Quai des Grands Augustins,  near  Notre Dame. ( My daughter Susan and I happened to be in Paris at the conclusion of a river cruise on the final day of the Tour.)


This painting has been accepted for the American Watercolor Society's 2010 exhibit at the Salamagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue, New York, from April 6 to April 30.





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