Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Barbara Reid: From Finance to Art

How are we going to communicate after you're gone?
~ Barbara Reid

Through your art.
~ Reid's Son Danny

Barbara Reid is an example of how a few simple words can change a life's direction. The words that transformed Reid from chief financial officer for a Bakersfield, California, hospital to full-time artist were those above, spoken by her son Danny, who in 2000 was diagnosed with leukemia, which took his life five years later. 

When her son became ill, Reid quit her job to take care of him. After Danny's death, instead of returning to healthcare finance, Reid took art classes and workshops, including a workshop with master printmaker Ron Pokrasso, and studied photography.

As she states on her Website, Reid believes she hears Danny while she is making art.

Last Friday, an all-woman show, The Seasons of Her Life, opened at Metro Galleries in Bakersfield. The exhibition, which is on view through June 30, includes 15 of Reid's artworks, as well as work by artists Tena Navarette, Heidi Rufeh, Betty Hock, and Lily Stockman.

Reid has dedicated the work in the Metro Galleries show to her son Stephen, and in her Artist's Statement for The Seasons of Her Life she speaks eloquently of the personal growth she achieved when she embraced "the bitter cold" of loss and then "prepare[d] for the next productive season."

Reid's works are mostly acrylics, mixed media, and monotypes. Her style varies from abstraction, such as "Labeled" (acrylic on canvas) and "Madison Avenue" (acrylic on paper), to realism, including landscapes such as "O'Keeffe Country" (acrylic on canvas). Trees — as depicted in her "Gussied Up" (monotype), "Second Blooming" (monotype), "No Veneer" (monotype), and "Old Soldiers" (watercolors)— are a favorite subject. Her titles — "Degradation to Delicacy", "Blue & the Boneyard", "Cocoon", "Solitude", "Transition" — give us clues to emotions and states of mind.

To view Reid's online gallery, go here. Images of some of her photographs are here. Among the latter, my favorites are "White Lace, Blue Moon" and "Cambria Pine".

Reid's work has been shown at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, Surface Gallery, and other venues, and is in private collections throughout the United States.


Washington Printmakers Gallery Explanation of Monotype Technique (and Images)

What Is a Monotype? (Video)


Glynn said...

A moving story, Maureen. And the story of someone, who is the face of tragedy, loss and death, chose to create something beautiful.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Barbara's story is very moving and her art is beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing the links -- once again, I'm inspired -- and reminded -- I need to get painting again!


Joyce Wycoff said...

Barbara's story and art are very moving ... thanks for expanding my world ... again!

Anonymous said...

i like the photos of the tree branches too.

S. Etole said...

What an inspiring story and link ... art speaks well.

Barbara said...

Wow. Pretty crazy to "happen upon" a blog post about me from 2 years ago. Thank you, Maureen! And thanks to all of the commenters. I was looking for an article online when I found this post. Ironically, tomorrow I will be participating in a show opening called "Final Gifts: A Dignified Journey."

Marveling at the synchronicity tonight, as always.