Monday, June 27, 2016

For some time now, I've been reading and studying about the idea of beauty and what its presence -- or absence -- means to our spirits, bodies and society.  I believe that beauty is for our spirits just as food and water are for our bodies.  It nourishes, replenishes, heals, revives and fortifies.  But so often in the digital noise and busy-ness of our contemporary world, we skip over beauty, or rush past it, or even deny it a place in our lives.  Matisse wrote that "there are flowers everywhere for those who want to see them."

My newest painting, "What Beauty Has To Say" is an ode to inviting the presence of beauty into our lives.  Beauty is there -- waiting to be accepted -- in a flower, in a music, in poetry, in art.  I wonder how one's world and world view could be changed by intentionally slowing down, stopping and pausing for beauty. I pause for beauty -- do you?

"What Beauty Has to Say", oil on linen, 24 x 24", at Gallerie Citi, Burlingame, CA.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Steve Fletcher and Carl Croft own the most beautiful store in San Francisco. It is called Dandelion.  Over many years they have curated an astonishing collection of beautiful and exquisite objects for the tabletop, garden, library and kitchen.  Their tastes run from Japanese simplicity to Art Deco to mountain cabin.

And lucky for THIS artist, they are dear friends and love to support my work.  For a limited time they are featuring a few of my paintings at Dandelion, and they have created a beautiful vignette for each painting.

It's fascinating to have one's work selected and then paired with another object d'art.  In someone else's eyes, my work takes on new meaning and feeling.

Thank you, Steve and Carl -- you've made this girl feel very blessed!

55 Potrero Avenue
San Francisco, CA
Open 10-6, every day except Sunday

Monday, April 11, 2016

I've just delivered my newest painting, "The Truth About Beauty," to Gallerie Citi.  It is a meditation on the nature of beauty.  What IS it about certain things -- an abstract work of art, a sea shell, a flower, an ancient Egyptian sculpture-- that we acknowledge are beautiful, yet they are all from such different realms.  What makes something beautiful - across eons and vastly different cultures?  I'm mystified and intrigued by the question.  I believe that at the heart of the answer -- and it is nearly impossible to express in words -- is the fact that perceiving beauty and being moved by it is the essence of being human.   Does beauty remind us of the transience of life?  Does beauty require that we pause and be present in that moment?  I don't know the answer, yet, but I love thinking about it and looking for ways to explore the question on canvas in paint.

"The Truth About Beauty"
Oil on Linen
24 x 24"

Monday, March 7, 2016

What a DELIGHT it was to be interviewed by Curator Marrianne McGrath at the New Museum Los Gatos on Saturday -- about my art, my creative process and my inspirations -- at my Artist Talk at the Museum.

Marianne's questions were thought-provoking and insightful ("What kind of art are you drawn to?"  "What is the best piece of advice you've been given?" "How do you know when a painting is finished?") -- and it was also stimulating to hear comments and observations from the audience members (the few brave souls who made their way through that day's maelstrom!).

We also talked at length about my "Self-Portrait in Absentia" which is hanging in the museum as part of the "More Than Your Selfie" exhibition.  Marianne's intention as curator of the exhibit is to get people to think of self-portraits (by artists and non-artists) as more than just a selfie of you (and your lunch!)-- a self-portrait involves a series of questions and decisions -- what do I want to say about myself at this moment in time -- what do I want to reveal -- what do I choose to conceal?  

Fascinating and profound questions to ponder.....

Curator Marianne McGrath and I chatting in front of my painting "Self-Portrait in Absentia."

Fabulous artist and blogger Marie Cameron (check out her great purse!) and me in front of my painting "Self-Portrait in Absentia."

The interview -- in the exhibition gallery....

And here I am showing a work in progress -- hot off my studio easel......

Friday, February 26, 2016

I love it when inspiration comes in unexpected encounters.  I was approached in late in 2015 with a tantalizing proposition - to create a "self-portrait" for an exhibition at the New Museum Los Gatos called "More Than Your Selfie." The museum curator, Maryann McGrath, encouraged me to "reveal" aspects of my SELF in the painting.

What a prospect! I have been painting "portraits in absentia" for over 5 years - they are illuminations of people, real or imagined, using objects or their own belongings - to tell stories in paint about their lives, journeys, and selves.

And now I was asked to turn this eye on myself. How to choose objects that reveal something about my true self - my story and my thoughts? What to reveal and what not to reveal?

The painting that emerged, "Self Portrait in Absentia," was a revelatory journey. I selected objects that "show" an aspect of me (my beloved red lipstick), some objects with deep personal meaning (my father's palette knife), and I included postcards of art that resonate profoundly with me.
And I decided to "invent"  two books I wish existed -- whose subjects are ideas and values I cherish.

This painting has opened up worlds of enticing new ideas to explore and encounter in future paintings.  Here's to chance encounters.....

"Self-Portrait in Absentia," oil in linen, 24x36"
By Elizabeth Barlow

New Museum Los Gatos
"More Than Your Selfie",  exhibition
Jan 21-May 15, 2016

Friday, October 16, 2015

I've just discovered a wonderful new art blog -- written by Marie Cameron.  She is a Bay Area artist and passionate blogger who writes with perception, curiosity and a wonderful inner "eye" on her artistic discoveries.

I met her at Art Silicon Valley/SF -- and I was delighted to read today that she mentioned my work in her recent overview of Art Silicon Valley -- and posted a pic she snapped of me in front of one of my paintings in the Gallerie Citi booth.

Here is what she wrote:

"I had the pleasure of meeting San Francisco based artist,Elizabeth Barlow, represented by Gallerie Citi of Burlingame. Her “portraits in absentia” are still lives of personal possessions that paint a portrait of their owners. Her work is meticulous, flawless realism that is embued with a sense of fun and lots of personality."
BRAVA Marie -- thanks for sharing the things that delight your eye!

And here is a link to her fantastic blog about making and creating art.....

Monday, October 12, 2015

Yesterday at Art Silicon Valley/San Francisco, gallery owner extraordinaire Andra Norris gave a symposium on two of her artists -- Kim Frohsin and myself.

Kim has a new series titled Cautionary Tales -- in which she has explored (on foot, with camera in hand) the changing cityscape of her beloved San Francisco.  She has documented the changes she sees -- old buildings being replaced with high rises -- and the resulting displacement of long time residents -- into her paintings.  Her paintings are colorful, beautiful yet eloquent collages of these changes.

My new paintings are the latest evolution of my "portraits in absentia" series, in which I paint portraits of people -- real or imagined -- using their belongings to recount their stories, choice and lives. Lately, I've chosen the clothing that we choose to cover (or adorn)  ourselves with -- our uniforms, our flamboyance, our circumstances, our celebrations.  I believe that our clothing retains something of our essence -- our truest selves -- even after we have discarded it.

Andra spoke deeply and perceptively about Kim's and my journeys of discovery and alchemy -- as we explored and then brought to life our newest work.

What a gift it is to hear a passionate art lover, art thinker, art collector discuss one's work!  Thank you Andra!