Artist Barbara Pickering - AIC Interview

Canadian artist Barbara Pikering paints diverse subjects, from expressive faces and mood inspired seascapes and landscapes to social issues dealing with the human condition. “I never limit myself to painting a singular subject matter….I love it all". Working in several mediums, she has come to love the versatility and feel of oils, and more recently, the fine work in India Ink. Barbara Pickering grew up in an Artist’s home in Canada and has been painting and drawing all her life. Her father, renowned Canadian Artist, Jack L. Pickering was a great influence in her art. To this day, they enjoy painting together and recently hosted a joint Art Show.

Question:
When did you realize you had the need to create and develop your skills?
Answer:
I grew up in an Artist's home, so the need to create has always been there. Developing my skills is a constant. That's a good thing, right?

Question:
How do you know when your art is complete?
Answer:
I just do and I have a little ritual of throwing my brush down and saying "done"! I rarely go back to a painting to change anything except to add glazing layers.

Question:
Where do you gather your inspiration from?
Answer:
I suppose it comes from questions and curiosity about life in general. Although, I have been inspired to do series paintings by a certain photo or a book I've read.

Question:
Where do you typically create art?
Answer:
Whether I am outside or in my studio, I am comfortable creating. I was taught at a young age the "art" of creating around chaos.

Question:
Right now, what is your medium of choice and what is your favourite subject matter?
Answer:
I like the feel and versatility of oils. They work for me especially for portrait or figurative painting

Question:
All artists at all stages of their career want to try something new, what other medium or subject matter do you see yourself experimenting with?
Answer:
I've started experimenting with India Ink pens and am loving the results. I see myself using them more and more, and perhaps using them in mixed media art with watercolour.

Question:
Continuing education, do you partake and if so what did you learn?
Answer:
I learn different techniques by having discussions and painting with other artists or by watching online videos.

Question:
Have you ever taught a class or done an artist talk? If so, what did you talk about or teach? Can people sign up for your workshops and how?
Answer:
No, but I have been asked.

Question:
Have you ever painted en plein air? What was the biggest hurdle for you? Environmental challenges, wildlife, people, weather?
Answer:
Yes, and I love it. The biggest challenge is the ever-changing light, but I paint fairly fast, so it doesn't pose much of an issue. I usually take a photo so I can refer to it back in my studio.

Question:
Do you do commissions? If so, what is your process?
Answer:
Yes, I've had success with commissions and enjoy the challenge. Usually, I receive a photo from a client and then we have a discussion about composition etc. so I get a feel for their vision of the painting. Sometimes I will send them a photo mid-way to see if it's heading in the right direction!

Question:
What is your favourite art related quote?
Answer:
“Look at life through the eyes of a child.” ~ Henri Matisse

Question:
Do you have a favourite artist and what do you like about their art? Have you ever met them?
Answer:
I would have to say, my Dad, Jack L. Pickering. He is a prairie artist, a naturalist, author, but so much more. His knowledge of the prairies is remarkable and it shows in every painting and sketch.

Question:
Did they inspire you to pursue a career as a professional artist?
Answer:
Absolutely. Although we have different painting styles, just being in his space is an education. We definitely feed off each other artistically, as we love painting together.

Question:
What is most challenging to you when starting a new project?
Answer:
Patience, patience, patience. I get over-anxious and want to see the end result.

Question:
What advice would you give to an artist starting out?
Answer:
Don't pigeon-hole yourself to one medium or one style. Your art is your journey, develop the confidence to do what makes you happy.

Question:
What keeps you going forward with your art in this very competitive industry?
Answer:
Just a simple love and passion for what I do. Sales are great, but I would create the same with or without them.

Question:
In your studio, right now, what is your most important tool that you would be lost without?
Answer:
My reading glasses!!! Anything else I could improvise!

Question:
What is your favourite piece of work you have created, thus far?
Answer:
The black and white portraits of my daughters. The feeling I had when working on these pieces was crazy good!

Question:
What is the most well received piece of art you have created?
Answer:
Probably Sukamappee. Everyone likes this piece and it won 2nd place in an international juried art show, so that was cool.

Question:
Do you have a favourite gallery or museum that you visit?
Answer:
The Tate Museum for sure, but so enjoy them all, from big centres like the Glenbow to quaint, small town museums and galleries. A trip to England to show my Dad his Great Grandfather's (R.A. artist Joseph L. Pickering) paintings held in galleries in Leeds, Liverpool and Cheltenham was the greatest gallery tour I will ever do. The Tate had some of his work in storage, but unfortunately, we were unable to view them.