Featured Artist Barbara Lloyd

In the middle of a circular garden in our yard was an old discarded sink, masquerading as a birdbath. There were no flowers in this garden, just hardscrabble soil and decaying leaves. Our rented house was relentlessly ugly, and my father liked to say you could get just as clean in an ugly bathroom as you could in a beautiful one. He once made me return a rose I had stolen from someone else’s garden. This is where I began.

My family members were not artists and art lovers, but people who had trained themselves not to recognize the difference between beauty and the lack of it, because the financial and psychological costs were too great. My addiction to art germinated in this unfriendly soil and its green tendrils pushed through the rocky dirt to suck in the sunshine. My being an artist today is a direct response to the family belief that beauty is unnecessary and artistic passion an option only for those with means and nothing else to do.

As I got older, art was the only thing that seemed to give me an identity of my own. Somehow I got my hands on a set of pastels and started doing portraits. It made me feel good about myself. When I won a couple of art contests, I knew this was what I wanted to do. After I graduated from Kean University of NJ with a BA in Fine Arts, I taught art for a year, did a series of album/CD art, and then realized this was not going to pay the bills. So, for virtually my entire professional life, I was an ad/promotional copywriter, and had my own PR agency for many years.

I loved copywriting and public relations – it was like painting with words and fulfilled that need in me to create something. But one day the joy in my work seemed to vanish overnight and I felt like I was going to explode. Unfortunately, though, over the years I had developed “blank canvas syndrome”. Fear of a blank canvas is paralyzing; you want to lift the brush to the canvas and you just can’t. I never thought I’d overcome it so I started by collecting found objects and creating one-of-a-kind jewelry and assemblages with them. Then I moved toward collages on canvas, then mixed media collages with acrylic paint. The first time I was able to paint without any of my “safety nets”, the result was like the geyser going off at Yellowstone National Park.

At that point, I became obsessed with so many different types of artistic expression that I couldn’t concentrate on any one of them. After about a year of this turmoil, I closed my PR business and whittled the art forms down to Acrylic Painting, Mixed Media/Collage and Digital Fine Art Photography.

Inspirations for paintings include interesting characters with strong facial expressions.  Sometimes, an image I’ve photographed “haunts” me so that I have to paint it or incorporate it into whatever I’m doing at the moment. At other times, I’ll find a new material, or discarded objects that spark an idea and make me want to use them.

I’ve also been working with a new take on “still life” art. In a very “mixed” Mixed Media approach, I take clippings, photos, found objects, textures and more, arrange them and then photograph them, in much the same way as a traditional still life. Then I paint and draw on them within a program such as PhotoShop and Microsoft Picture It. I add effects, create textures, change colors until I’m happy with the result. Sometimes I’ll print the resulting image on heavy paper and continue to paint with acrylics and add collage bits. Some of them never stop changing!

My character, The Boy Who Would Be King, originated with a small assemblage I did, using found objects. I loved it, but the piece was so delicate, it kept getting damaged. I didn’t want to lose it so I photographed and then imported it to a computer file, then digitally drew and painted it, and created a digital art print of it. Next I painted it in acrylics on canvas. I’m quite attached to this figure now and have begun to do an entire series around it.

On Art Deco Weekend in South Beach (FL), I photographed a charming stilt walker entertaining the crowds on Ocean Drive. Luckily, the photo captured her saucy look, confidence and long striped torso. It “demanded” to be painted and so I did.

A Glance From The Catwalk was the first in a series of works I’m doing showcasing a strong female image. These are women with attitude. They are not famous or wealthy, but they are secure in their ability to survive and even flourish, like blooms that grow from rocky soil.

B.J. Lloyd lives in Danbury, CT and South Beach, FL. She is a member of the Housatonic Valley Cultural Alliance in CT. Visit her website at WWW.BJLloyd.MosaicGlobe.com; contact her at [email protected]

Comments

  1. Hi Barbara,
    I love seeing your art progress and take on it’s own life. And the story the Boy who would be king was amazing, both in image and writing. Congradulations.
    Keep it up. You are doin wonderfully

    Fondly,

    Donna

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