robert j barber   home   painting archive   available paintings   about the artist   extras  
detail of painting titled front yard magnolia


For me, painting is such a rewarding response to the world around us.  I am fascinated by nature’s elements, just as they are. It is such a pleasure to stand around and worry about how one set of colors may be different from another set of colors as a part of studying why something looks the way that it does.  It is a wonderful way to connect with a time and a place.  When it is a gray day, I paint a gray day because I am curious about just which gray that is, after all.  A passerby once asked me:  “Are you painting this drab rainy day?”  I said:  “Yes.  It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”  And it was.  I feel that I am here to learn from nature, and to enjoy its subtleties and rhythms as much as possible. Painting of the lighthouse in Cape May with passing rain squalls
What we painters do is extremely old-fashioned.  It contradicts much of the pace of the modern world, and yet so much good comes from standing on one spot for hours or days. You become a temporary fixture in a community.  People share their stories, things happen, and any of it can become a part of the painting or have an effect on the development of the painting. One important thing always strikes me whenever standing still for more than even a few moments, and that is the sense of ongoing change.  Sometimes it is slow, but everything is moving.  This is an important element that I’m always trying to bring into my work.  I want my paintings to feel that they are not of a frozen moment.  Each moment is part of a fluid and living thing, and I am trying to capture that sensation.
Poem by Louis Halle, Jr. saying:  To snatch the passing moment and examine it for signs of eternity is the noblest of occupations.
Painting of marsh pines in midday sun