Artist Profile: Barbara Stone
“The trick,” says Barbara Stone, “is to capture the light.” A pastel artist from East Sandwich and a founding member of the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod, Stone discovered her love for the colorful medium after years of experimenting and working with other kinds of paint.
Growing up in rural North Andover, Stone shared her family’s appreciation of the seasons and the outdoors. This experience sharpened her senses and heightened her interest in the natural world. After earning a degree in education from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1972, she began taking every art class she could find, while raising her children. She discovered pastels at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1989 and has never looked back.
“When I began painting, I didn’t even know about pastels,” she says. “This art form has grown tremendously in the past 30 years. My early work has lots of dark purple in it, because that was the darkest shade available. The range is now much wider, and it provides me with so many more variations of color, just like nature.”
Stone’s bold brushstrokes create layer upon layer of color, making pastoral Cape Cod scenes pop off the sanded paper she prefers. Such everyday settings as marshes, a wildflower meadow, a walkway to the sea, and a simple row of mailboxes have all found their way into her work. “I am always looking for new ideas,” she says. “There are little gems . . . little vignettes around every turn, just waiting to be found.” Today, Stone paints with a softer, looser look, a style she has developed from years of exploration and experimentation with pastels, which she likens to pure crystal forms of color.
“I am an intuitive painter,” she says. “Things don’t have to be exact. I like to think of my work as a tapestry, weaving a pool of pastel threads through the painting.”
Stone also teaches classes for adults and children at the Cape Cod Art Association. “I enjoy teaching art to all ages,” she says, “because of the freedom of the process, not the product.” – Kathy Blackwell
Barbara Stone is represented by Gallery 31 Fine Art, 34 Main Street, Orleans. The public can meet the artist Saturday, July 9, from 4-6 p.m., at the opening of her new exhibit, “Journey Home.” More information is available at barbarastonepastels.com.