Artist Interview: Barbara Byrd

Posted by Crossroads Art Center General Account - July 20 2022


Q. What started it all for you? How did you get into the arts?

A. I came from a very small school, which did not offer art. In fact, my senior class consisted of only 45 graduates. Sometimes, when I felt like procrastinating, I would go to the library which is where the librarian would show her art on an easel - that was my first exposure to the arts. When my husband was assigned overseas while in the military, my friend signed me up for art classes and it’s been art ever since! I started with stained glass, and a variety of media, but eventually landed on oil.


Q. Tell me about your creative process / How do you approach new projects?

A. I like focusing on light and dark in my subject matter, and each painting must have both. I often work from a photograph as it’s easier for me physically. Sometimes I will even combine two photographs to create a new subject.


Q. Who and/or what are your biggest inspirations and how do they influence your work?

A. Being part of the Swimming-in-Paint group has been a big inspiration, and Chuck Larivey is my mentor. Chuck lets me paint and informs me with new ideas as well. He will make suggestions and then it’s up to me whether to use them. Before I was in SIP my style was more particular and detailed, but now I can paint loosely and have more freedom. I live in Caroline County, so it takes me 55 minutes to get to art class. It shows that I really want to paint, because I am dedicated to the drive.


Q. What is your favorite subject matter to focus on and why?

A. I like to paint everything - Chuck has stated to me constantly, ‘if you can paint shapes, you can paint anything.’ My goal is to paint my children and my great grandchildren, which I have now successfully accomplished. Each year I try to paint a portrait of each of them, and each year I get better. These paintings are definitely some of my favorites.


Q. If you had a motto, for your art and life, what would it be?

A. I was told I could not, but I can. I was told I could not paint, but I was determined and so I did!