Our Featured Artist for September 2013 is Barbara Close! Barbara is an award winning Calligraphic Artist. Enjoy getting to know her:
How do you describe your work and yourself as an artist?
I am a multi-media artist. I love lettering, watercolor, collage and many other disciplines. I’m not afraid to try something new. I love to experiment and explore. I continually ask myself “what if...?” My work is a combination of watercolors, acrylics, inks and words. Sometimes the words dictate the art that accompanies it and sometimes the art leads the words.
I am passionate about my art - I’ve been through many storms in life and art has always helped me stay true my art and to myself. Not an easy path.
Describe your journey and the path you have taken to develop your art.
My Artistic Journey began as a child. I wanted a Parker Pen for my 5th Birthday. My eyes lit up brightly when I opened that package! I would draw, color and make paper dolls a lot as a child. I entered a rigorous coloring contest once where we colored food packages exactly as seen in the grocery store. I won that contest! I was about 8 years old. Later, I wanted to go into Fashion Design as a career but my path led me elsewhere.
I discovered calligraphy in high school though I did not know or pay attention to the term “calligraphy” at the time. I loved copying the letters from the Speedball Text Book and when my talent for lettering became known, I was frequently asked to make posters and signs for the various groups and clubs on campus. My real love of letters began in 1978 with a formal Lettering class in Long Beach, CA with Elizabeth Lucas. I was hooked! I studied every extra minute and stayed up late practicing while my young children slept. I joined the Society for Calligraphy and took all the workshops I could. It wasn’t easy balancing practice, family and working full time but I did it because my drive to learn was so strong. I’ve made the very best of friends within calligraphy groups. My favorite instrument for writing is the pointed pen. I use it for copperplate lettering and experimental styles.
I loved the discipline of calligraphy in every aspect when I first started and worked very hard at it. I took art classes at Cerritos College and then California State University at Fullerton to complete my art degree. I was undecided about going into Fine Arts or Graphic Design as I really loved them both. Eventually, my heart led me in the direction of Graphic Design and I got my BFA in that field.
What inspires you? The things that inspire me are vast - some include: a beautiful sky, clouds, beaches, trees, flowers, children, mountains, poetry, songs, and music. Ideas spark for me if I’m in the right flow of music. I think soft background music, whether it’s classical or instrumental, helps calm the soul. It’s a perfect way to work.
When I encounter a creative roadblock, I look through a variety of books, websites or the printed images in my inspiration folder. I will also go for a walk and clear my head to make room for creativity.
What do you want to communicate with your art? The most important thing to me is to communicate the feeling of the text and the art. I am moved to create positive work and I need to express that.
Do you teach? I teach calligraphy classes and various art related workshops throughout the U.S. and Canada. I love teaching and plan to keep doing so.
I’ve exhibited work at conferences and private parties throughout the United States. My workshops include Letterforms, Artful watercolor backgrounds and page layouts, Artists’ Book structures and much, much more.