Opening at the Yuma Arts Center

Yuma Openting #1

Painting Water opened in Yuma at the Yuma Fine Art Center last Friday evening, March 6th, in the West Gallery of the Art Center. There are 5 galleries all together in the Center, and on this evening there were 3 galleries having openings. Above is an installation shot of the West wall.

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Installation shot of the East wall, with one of the refreshment tables all set for food to arrive and the piano awaiting the pianist. This was a nice surprise, I didn’t expect live music!

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The South wall.

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I’m standing between Duet: Water & Boulders, 36″ x 48″, acrylic on panel and Water Jazz, 58″ x 80″, acrylic on canvas.

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North wall, with a woman viewing the paintings on the East wall.

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Pianist and a few visitors. The opening has started.

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Talking to people about my paintings.

This is a spectacular place. Painting Water will be up through April 3rd. The Art Center is open from Tuesday-Saturday.

Painting Water Exhibit Opens Despite the Super Bowl

Two inches of rain fell during the 2 days before the opening of my show at Rancho Linda Vista Gallery in Oracle. In fact, we transported the paintings from my studio to the gallery in the driving rain. Luckily, Sunday February 1 dawned sunny and beautiful for the opening of Painting Water.

A  crowd showed up despite it being Super Bowl Sunday. The gallery was full of people coming and going from 1 pm until precisely 4:25 pm. Suddenly, it was empty. Super Bowl started at 4:30. However, by 4:35, intrepid non-Super Bowlers continued to come by to see the show. Therefore, I vote Painting Water, 63, Super Bowl, 0.

Best of all my sons Jeremiah and Mathew surprised me by coming to the opening. No small effort on their part. Jeremiah drove all the way from Northern New Mexico (10 hours), picking up Mathew in Phoenix and driving an additional 2 hours to Oracle. It was one of the best surprises I’ve ever had.

My sister, Nancy, flew in from Northern California to see the show the following week. Not a surprise, but special none-the-less. I’m lucky to have such a supportive family.

Here are a few photos from the opening:

_MG_0215Installation, North wall.

_MG_0233Andy Rush giving me his opinion of the show, view of East wall of the gallery.


_MG_0242Jim Walsh & other visitors.

_MG_0251View of a section of the West wall, with friends Nyla Butler, Judy Walsh and Maureen Murphy.

Thanks to Jim for the great photos and for cooking delicious dinners for weeks while I painted madly in my studio.


Barbara Kemp Cowlin vs The Super Bowl: Painting Water Opens February 1

A solo show of my paintings is coming up soon (in 10 days but who’s counting), on Sunday February 1, at the Rancho Linda Vista Gallery in Oracle. For the past two years I’ve been focused on creating all new paintings for this show. Weeks ago, I had the postcards invitations to the show printed and was just getting ready to mail them out when guess what—I overheard someone talking about Super Bowl Sunday. Coming up on Sunday, February 1. Imagine my horror when I realized I had inadvertently scheduled my opening for that very day. Too late to change the date.

In deference to the Super Bowl, I decided to start the opening earlier, at one o’clock. That way the Super Bowl won’t loose any viewers—they can see my show early and head home in plenty of time to take in the game. And in addition, I’ll be providing plenty of chips & dips and libations, so visitors to the exhibit can do their eating at my show and not have to worry about food distracting them from the game.

And for the rest of you, if you’re feeling left out, come to my opening and join in on conversations about art and other fascinating non-game related topics. And you, too, can have your chips and dips.

Rancho Linda Vista exhibit announcement

A New Painting for the New Year

Happy New Year!

My painting, Water Juxtaposition, is officially completed and photographed. And I’m into the four week countdown to the opening of my exhibit, Painting Water, on February 1 at the Rancho Linda Vista Gallery in Oracle. Which means I’m going to be working like mad in my studio between now and then.

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Water Juxtaposition, 48 inches x 60 inches, acrylic on canvas

Although I treated myself to a few lazy days over the holidays, I managed to get quite a bit of work done. In addition to a massive cleaning of my studio, I started several new paintings and updated the workshop page on my website. This winter & spring, I’m offering workshops around Arizona. Information on signing up is on the workshop page or you can contact me.

Classes in my studio will be by request during this time period. I put together a list of workshops I’ve offered in the past and these can be adjusted to fit your needs. It’s easy—just get a group of four or more people together and I can schedule a special workshop for you and your friends.


One Finished Painting and Ten in the Works


Here is an officially completed painting—official because Jim photographed it. There are snapshots of it in progress on previous blog posts. The painting, Water Jazz, is large—2 canvases which when bolted together make the painting 58 inches x 80 inches. Here it is:

Water Jazz


And yes, I’m really am working on ten paintings at once. Don’t ask me how this happened. Perhaps a bit of panic at my rapidly approaching shows? Four of the paintings are actually 4 separate panels which will end up as 2 paintings—a long & square panel each for each painting. So maybe I should say I’m working on 8 paintings at once. All in different stages of completion. Since I don’t have enough room on my easel, I have a bunch of paintings I’m working on flat on tables. You should see me dancing back and forth across my studio applying paint—it’s quite aerobic.

Here’s a painting that’s maybe (with luck) be getting close to completion:

in progress 12-2-14


Just started the one below:


In prog 12-2-14


And here are 6 (or 8 depending on how you count them), flat on tables:

6 at once 12-2-14


Enough of this spending time on the computer—I need to get my apron on and get to painting!


Featured Artist, Article on Manhattan Arts International Website

I was recently honored to be chosen as a Featured Artist on the Manhattan Arts International website. The website was started in 2000, but the history of Manhattan Arts International started years before.

Founder and director Renee Phillips has an impressive background in the arts, starting with schooling at the Art Student’s League in NYC. During the time that she was studying painting, Renee got interested in the curatorial aspects of the art world. As a result, she has curated over 60 exhibitions.  She is also an art critic and a member of the International Association of Art Critics. Her essays and articles have appeared in numerous arts magazines.

One of Renee Phillips’ passions is in helping artists move their art careers forward. And one of the ways she achieves this goal is through Manhattan Art International. For 17 years, Renee Phillips and her company published Manhattan Arts International, a full-color magazine devoted to promoting under recognized artists. In 1999 the magazine was shifted to an online website which continues the mission of the original magazine. One of the main focuses of the website is the Featured Artist Program.

“We are a creative community of art professionals dedicated to promoting and rewarding artistic excellence through juried and curated art programs. Our editorial coverage is international. We present new informative and inspirational articles about art events, influential art world leaders and under-recognized creative visionaries” according to the website.

To see the Featured Artist article about me, please visit Manhattan Arts International.

Paintings: Finished, Finishing & a New Start

I’ve been working away in my studio—and here is an update on my progress.

Horizontal Water in Staccato is finished and this is the official photograph. I did some experimenting using High Flow acrylic in a Fine Line marker, which allowed me to “draw” skinny horizontal lines inside some of the horizontal textures. It added a new, linear feel to the painting. And it was fun.

Horizontal Water in Staccato

Horizontal Water in Staccato 30″ x 30″ Acrylic on panel


Below is the a snapshot of the as yet unnamed painting on which I’ve been working seemingly forever. It’s lurking on my easel, but I’ve been trying to tune it out all week in order to take a little break from it. The theory being that I’ll be able to look at the painting anew and suddenly see what it still needs. I’d move it into another spot in my studio, but it’s so large that it doesn’t fit anywhere else. Jim suggested that I cover it in a white sheet. A tempting suggestion, but I do take quick peeks at it looming there and perhaps the solution to this painting’s problems is eminent.

Almost done? 480

Title?   Size—real big   Acrylic on 2 panels


Next up, a new painting in progress, just begun this week. I started this one with a thin coat of Light Molding Paste over the gesso. Once it was dry, I used really watered down paint to create washes across the canvas. I did this by laying the painting flat on a table and using a large paintbrush, I covered parts of the canvas with water. Then I applied the soupy paint and tilted the canvas back & forth to get the paint to run. I also used my trusty spray bottle to spritz some areas and applied paint to those. Once the whole surface was covered, I dried it with a hairdryer and then repeated the process a few more times. Oh, I also flung some paint around on the canvas. By the way, this painting is 48″ x 60″, so it’s pretty big.

First day 480

Day 1


On day two I started to add layers of various colors over the top of the washes using some glazes and some light molding paste with color added and applied with a palette knife. To some, I also added texture using one of my favorite New Age texture tools.

Second day 480

Day 2


Yesterday I added more layers and also a green glaze to parts of the painting to start adding some depth.

Day 3

Day 3


What’s my plan of attack for today? I have no idea what or where or how I’m going to continue. And now it’s time for me to get myself over to that easel and figure it out.

Sonoran Arts Network Online Journal Interview

The Sonoran Arts Network is a monthly online journal published by C.J. Shane. The journal, which is a labor of love by Shane, has been in publication for several years, “connecting arts and communities in the Sonoran bioregion”. There are so many artists doing such good work with so little recognition that I hope this publication will eventually lead to all kinds of interesting results.

Recently, Shane asked me if I would like to be interviewed for the October issue. Of course I said yes. A number of thoughtful questions required me to get introspective. Here’s the link to this interview which also includes lots of photographs of my paintings.

Be sure to take a look at the Sustainability Fund  page in the e-journal. I’d be delighted if Shane received some money as a result of this blog post. As I mentioned above, the Sonoran Arts Network is literally a labor of love, taking many hours of Shane’s time and much energy. At this point her funding comes from reader contributions. I’d also like to point out that you can sign up to receive the monthly mailing. It’s always a treat when it hits my inbox—something to look forward to every month.

Shane is a remarkable person with a fascinating life story. Take a look at her website to see what I mean. Shane is an accomplished artist—painter, relief printmaker and creator of artist books, as well as a published writer. Not to mention an editor, a librarian, a historian and an avid gardener.


A Video “Painting Water” By James Cowlin

Growing up, for some reason my family never owned a video camera—and yes they did exist even way back then. Consequently, I’m used to seeing myself in photos but not in action. I admit to having some discomfort at the thought. I don’t mind standing up in front of people and talking but somehow talking in front of a camera seems much more threatening to me.

Jim had suggested creating a video of me talking about me, me, me and my art work for a long time, but due to a distinct lack of enthusiasm on my part, it hadn’t happened. Until a few days ago. In preparation for teaching iPhone video workshops, Jim has been enlisting several people to participate in his process for use in his workshops. How could I refuse? So here’s the video, all 4 minutes and 7 seconds.



Moving Boulders in My Paintings

Sometimes I feel like carving out the time to paint feels like trying to shove boulders up a hill. And sometimes when a painting isn’t going well, it also feels like the act of painting is like moving boulders around. In this instance, I was literally moving boulders around in two paintings.

It started when my friend, the artist Sharon Brady, stopped by to critique my work. She liked the painting, but then after spending some time looking, something started to bother her. It was the boulders. They were all the same size and shape and were regularly spaced. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? That’s what artist friends are for—they can see things you can’t because you’re too involved. I’m grateful for Sharon’s input.

I got out my trusty sander, proceeded to get rid of the boulders as best I could and started back in. The domino effect of art took hold and before I knew it I was revamping the whole darn painting. In the end, it took me at least twice as long as a painting this size warranted. I think it improved the painting. I hope.

Passageway, Acrylic Painting by Barbara Kemp Cowlin

On the next painting I started the domino effect all by myself. Another smallish painting, initially a vertical format, initially based on some snapshots from Canyon de Chelley, in Northern Arizona. That didn’t go so well, so I turned the on it’s side and continued on, still based on those Canyon de Chelley snapshots. DID NOT LIKE IT AT ALL. Out came the sander again. This time the painting morphed into something totally different—based on snapshots from Zion National Park. Two states, 3 paintings on-top-of-each-other later here is what I ended up with. Are we there yet? I sure hope so.

Roundabout, Acrylic Painting by Barbara Kemp Cowlin

My artist friend, Diana Creighton, came by today to have a look at my big painting. She agreed that it wasn’t done. I knew it, but was hoping I was wrong. She had some very helpful suggestions, so as soon as I finish this blog post, I’m getting to work on this painting. By the way, it’s a lot bigger than the little paintings above, but of course, on the screen they all appear the same size.

Wave, Acrylic Painting by Barbara Kemp Cowlin

And here’s one I just started a couple days ago.

Painting in progress, Barbara Kemp Cowlin