The Abstract Destiny of Mixed Media Artist Barbara Brenton
Artist Barbara Brenton had it all planned out, business curriculum in high school, followed by college and a successful career in securities and real estate. A well strategized career would take some abstract turns for Brenton. From a small town inIndiana, Barbara moved ten times for her career, living inIndianapolis,New York,Philadelphia,Stamford,CT, andSouthern California. But, a successful career could not quiet the artistic voice inside Brenton that began rumbling in high school. “When I was a senior in high school I had two study halls periods and wanted to take art lessons in place of one of the study halls,” explains Barbara. “Because I was taking a business curriculum my guidance counselor wouldn’t permit me to take art lessons because ‘it didn’t fit my program’. Probably much to her disgust, I sat in study hall drawing and doodling and told myself some day I’ll take art lessons in spite of her.”
Ten career moves offered Brenton the artistic opportunity missed in high school. In New York Brenton studied at The New School and inLaguna Beach,CaliforniaBarbara attended classes at the Laguna School of Arts. InConnecticut, Brenton took a 12-week drawing course that met two times a week at theSilverMineArtSchoolinNew Canaan. In 1998, Brenton relocated toNew York Citywhere she decided she had enough of the fast paced world of finance and decided to move permanently to theNaplesandBonitaSpringsarea to focus on her artistic voice.
Brenton took full advantage of the artistic opportunities inSouthwest Florida, including joining the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs and taking classes and workshops offered there regularly. Brenton took a number of workshops with artist, Robert Burridge who teaches annual workshops at the Center for the Arts. Brenton’s abstract work, which she describes as “eclectic, contemporary, abstract, mixed media, take your pick,” met with immediate approval. Barbara’s work won her first place in the Center for the Arts “Annual Members Show,” and “Abstract Exhibition” in 2009 followed by another first place award at the “Hot, Hot, Hot” Exhibition in July of 2011.
“Her work is powerful, colorful and often contains an amazing sense of depth,” offers Susan Bridges, President of the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs on Barbara Brenton’s mixed media art. Brenton’s involvement with the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs includes sharing a studio space with fellow students and abstract artists, Eileen Walden Johnson and Ursula Cappelletti. Brenton’s current work is among her favorite, created from a process she has developed over the past two years.
“A couple of years ago I took a two-day image transfer workshop that taught us how an image that had been photocopied or scanned into and printed from an inkjet printer could be transferred onto canvas, wood, or an artist panel,” explains Barbara. “In that class we experimented with transferring copies of gift wrap, pictures from newspapers and magazines, and photographs onto small wood panels. The light bulb went off in my mind and thought this would be a great thing to do with photographs of my own artwork. However, since my nature is to add my own twist to the process I had to come up with something a little different. What I discovered is that through the use of Adobe Photoshop Elements I could crop a section from a picture of an original painting and then use special affects in the computer program to transform the cropped section. The results are bolts of color and indescribable shapes. Not stopping there I then create what I call a 2nd generation painting of the special effects. In other words, it’s a painting of my painting”.
Current examples of this process “Tutti Frutti” and “Follow the Leader,” are on exhibit at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs “Member Show,” on display through February 22, 2012. Brenton’s work can be seen Monday through Saturday, 10:00am -3:00pm in Studio 156 at the Artist Studio’s at the Promenade inBonitaBay. Brenton’s artistic voice remains as simple as it was in high school.
“I don’t have any grandiose purpose for creating art other than it keeps me entertained and it’s something I like to do,” explains Barbara. “If someone else likes it, too, then that’s a compliment and inspires me to keep painting. I paint for myself.”
To learn more about Barbara Brenton and the Artist Studio’s at the Promenade, contact the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs at 239-495-8989.
Those who join the Center for the Arts for the first time receive 2 tickets to one of this season’s Live at the Promenade Performances. The Center for the Arts offers this promotion for first time members.