Barbara Tracy grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and enjoyed drawing, painting, and craft making at an early age. She attended Kutztown University, majoring in art education where she studied under Dr. Mary Erickson and Dr. Thomas Schantz, both well-published and notable artists and art educators in the national art education field. She attained a Masters Degree in Art Education from Kutztown and taught art in the public school arena for over 30 years, serving as K-12 department chair for four years. As an adjunct professor at DeSales University, she instructed classroom teachers on methodology of integrating the arts into classroom curriculum. Her art lessons have been published in DreamMakers, a Hallmark / Crayola company publication for parents and teachers.
Retiring from her teaching career in 2012, Barbara devotes all her time to painting in her studio or pleinair. She has a passion for depicting trees, which is derived from her early childhood memories of her grandparent’s estate, where a stand of huge oak trees were part of her early imaginative play. As a mostly self-taught watercolor artist, Barbara has focused on landscapes, though she also has a love for florals and wildlife. She draws inspiration from her surroundings in Pennsylvania as well as her extensive travels.
Barbara was mentored by the award winning pastel and watercolor artist, Priscilla Rosenberger Taylor, at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem, PA. Among the many workshops and classes she has taken, Barbara recently completed an intensive painting workshop with internationally acclaimed water-colorist, Tony Couch. She is a member of the Lehigh Art Alliance, Bethlehem Palette Club and the Lehigh Valley Arts Council as well as a lifetime member of the National Education Association (NEA). She has begun to exhibit and win awards in regional and international juried exhibitions. She was a recent finalist in the international Faso Broad Brush competition. She currently maintains a studio in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
I react and respond to my environment through art making.Nature serves as an ongoing inspiration and allows me to express how I feel about both the natural and man-made beauty of the world around me.
Although most of my work represents my immediate surroundings in Pennsylvania, I often draw inspiration from my travels over the years.My work varies in style from contemporary impressionism/naturalism to expressionism.
Composition, light, color, and texture, are my recurrent interests.
What really drives me is my passion for the concept or subject, which is the heart of my artwork. Flowers, natural scenes, still life, wildlife, or extreme close-ups all must ignite in me a feeling of timelessness and spiritual meaning. Composition, which is the arrangement of all the parts of my painting, is a primary concern.
The substance of what I choose to paint must stir me to the point that the painting makes itself and I become the bystander, watching the mixing of color, the application of paint, and the formation of the composition so as to create not just a pleasing painting but one that tells a story. It must tell a story of a moment in time as well as express spirituality. It often is a synopsis of memory and distillation of moods.
I am inspired by the way light reflects on the surface of water, defines the contour of a tree, bounces off a building, or illuminates the texture of a surface. Light for me defines the mood. Whether it is early morning mist or deepening dusk the atmospheric light, color temperature, and value reflect my emotional response to the scene.
In my paintings I often emphasize texture, whether it is a rustic barn wall, the bark of an ancient tree, or a spray of foxgloves. Texture describes a surface and communicates the results of time and environment.
Presently I am captivated by the spontaneity of English watercolorist Anne Blockley. Thewatercolors of Winslow Homer, Charles Demuth, Andrew Wyeth, and Georgia O’Keeffe are always my inspiration.Artist Frida Kahlo’s strength and courage remind me to be brave and persevere.
I am currently engaged in painting full time in my Bethlehem studio. As a painter, I continue to search and express my reverence of both the natural and man-made world. It is a most worthwhile and satisfying endeavor.