Posts filed under ‘Pointillism’

New painting: Pescadero Beach 11×14″ (worth the wait)

"Pescadero Beach" by Barbara J Carter Pescadero Beach by Barbara J Carter, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 11×14″ (frame 17×20″).

I started this painting last year, but abandoned it halfway through.

What happened was I started working on a very similar scene in a much larger format. The larger painting took over. It was so much more dramatic than the small one. The little one seemed unnecessary, redundant. I set it aside.

In fact, I thought about destroying it. It was just a smaller version of a very successful big painting. It wasn’t going to be anything but a lesser copy. And I hate copying myself.

But I couldn’t bring myself to trash it. So I set it aside. I turned it to face the wall and ignored it. It sat there for months.

Time does a funny thing. What seemed like a “copy” then, now seems like a different take on a similar theme. Enough time has passed for it to become its own painting: a small window onto a similar scene, but with its own unique take.

I hauled it out and finished it this month. I’m extraordinarily pleased with it. Sometimes it just takes a little time to find the right approach.

Purchase information here.


March 29, 2012 at 6:04 am 7 comments

“Wind Wolves Triptych”

This is my latest painting, “Wind Wolves Triptych.”

"Wind Wolves Triptych" painting by Barbara J CarterWind Wolves Triptych” by Barbara J Carter, acrylic on canvas, 40×90″ (3 panels), 2011.

It’s the biggest triptych I’ve painted to date. Seven and a half feet wide!

The painting depicts a set of hills in the Wind Wolves Preserve, a large privately owned conservation area that is open to the public. Located in the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley of California, it’s a beautiful space: an unspoiled wide valley surrounded by rugged hills. The valley floor is carpeted each spring with fabulous wildflowers. It’s a bit of a drive from Los Angeles, but worth a visit. If I remember correctly, it’s open on weekends and admission and parking are free. The facilities include very nice bathrooms and a few picnic benches, and very good trails for ambling all about without crushing the flora. Dog friendly too (we don’t go anywhere we can’t bring our pooch).

My painting is on public display at the Silver Lake Art Collective’s annual exhibit now through November 19, 2011. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you should go take a look-see. (All the info is in my previous blog post.)

Art pricing/availability information here.

October 25, 2011 at 10:00 am 3 comments

New painting: “Two Trees”

I am scrambling like mad to get several new paintings finished in time to show them at the upcoming art show in Northern California, Kings Mountain Art Fair, Labor Day Weekend. (See all my upcoming shows here.)

This is the latest.

Two Trees, painting by Barbara J Carter “Two Trees” by Barbara J Carter, acrylic on canvas, 40×30 inches.

“Two Trees” depicts an iconic Californian scene, a pair of scraggly oak trees atop a golden-hued hill. I like to emphasize the honey-amber tones of the dry grass that covers so much of California throughout the dry season. For this painting, I also pulled those yellow-gold tones into the sky to make the silhouetted trees just that much more dramatic. Who says the sky always has to be blue?

A few days ago I thought this painting was finished, so I set it aside and turned my attention to another. But something was niggling at me, so I put it back on my easel and worked a little more on it. I shifted the colors in the hill more emphatically to yellow-orange tones, and downplayed the cooler colors like blue and green. (How do I do this? You’ll have to ask me in person!) That really integrated the painting into a unified whole. So now it’s really finished, and ready for the big art show. See you there!

Kings Mountain Art Fair September 3-5, 2011.

August 24, 2011 at 12:31 pm 2 comments

Some Good Press

It’s always exciting to see your name in print. This one’s by far the nicest blurb I’ve ever had in a newspaper. And I didn’t even have to write it! Thanks to the Ventura County Star.

VenturaStar2009 (from the Ventura County Star’s arts supplement “timeOut” for July 10-17, 2009)

It’s a nice distillation of information about me and my art, quoted off my website. (You can read it if you click on the picture above and then zoom in.) It gives the information for the exhibit I’m in at the Red Brick Gallery (in Ventura, which explains the Ventura newspaper’s interest).

Apparently the gallery sent the newspaper several images from all the artists in the exhibit, and the paper chose to print one of mine. And write up a story with it. They didn’t have to pick me, but they did, and did a very nice job of it too. I’m chuffed!

The story references my exhibit at the Red Brick Gallery in Ventura, California. The show went up this Monday and will stay up through August 16, 2009. If you’re in town on Saturday, July 25, be sure to stop by the gallery between 6pm and 9pm for the artists’ reception. I will be there! And so will that painting in the newspaper article (the painting looks much better in person than in newsprint!).

Thanks to the Ventura County Star for the lovely writeup. You guys rock.

July 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm 5 comments

New Painting: “Satwiwa”

If you read my “Work in Progress” posts (here, here, here, and here) you’ll recognize this painting.

"Satwiwa" by Barbara J Carter, 40x30", acrylic on canvas, 2009.

"Satwiwa" by Barbara J Carter, 40x30", acrylic on canvas, 2009.

Satwiwa is the Chumash (Native American) word for “the bluffs”, and was the name of one of their villages. Satwiwa is now the name of an educational center located within the Rancho Sierra Vista park in the Santa Monica Mountains (near Los Angeles).

I took a lot of photos during my recent dayhike in Rancho Sierra Vista, and I think many of them may end up being used for paintings. At least two have so far (I’ll post the other one soon). I got some really good reference material there. And that was just one visit! That’s really good news, because many of my dayhikes end up with no usable material at all. So I guess it all balances out.

This painting is available for $1200. It is wired and ready to hang. It is not framed, but the canvas is stapled neatly on the back and the deep sides are painted solid red, so it can be displayed without a frame. I offer free delivery to most of the Los Angeles area, and shipping via FedEx Ground to anywhere else in the world. Purchasing information is here.

February 17, 2009 at 8:32 pm 5 comments

Abstract Dots in Detail

Here’s a closer look at my second experimental dot painting. This is one corner of the painting:

Detail of dot painting by Barbara J Carter, 2008

Detail of dot painting by Barbara J Carter, 2008

The white dots are about the size of a pencil eraser.

What I like about this painting is the partial obscuration of the underlying colors by the mostly light-colored little round dots of paint (the ones that look white and straw-yellow in the image above – none are really pure white, but that is how they look). When you stand back and look at the painting you can certainly make out the major areas of underlying color (the two red rectangles) but there’s more than that going on. I like how hard it is to make this out, as if it’s more hinted at than spelled out.

The other thing I like about the painting is the darker purple dots around the edges. I intentionally “feathered” them into and amongst the pale dots to make what we artists call a gradient around the perimeter of the painting. This really gives it a sense of depth and additional mystery. The detail image above shows one of the corners. You can see the darker dots that form the edges of the painting on the left and bottom of the detail image.

If you enjoyed this painting, don’t worry, there will be more. Just not quite yet. Right now I need to paint some more of my neo-pointillist landscapes. I’ll post some progress images in the coming days.

January 16, 2009 at 2:50 pm 1 comment

Abstract Exploration

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m starting to explore painting in a more abstract style. This painting is my second attempt at abstract pointillism, and I think it worked out pretty well. I showed it to a group of artists and it garnered quite a bit of very positive feedback, so that’s pretty encouraging. This is certainly a direction I intend to explore more.

dot-experiment-2 Barbara J Carter, 2008, Acrylic on Canvas, 24×18″

It isn’t titled, but if you absolutely must own it, it is available for purchase. Unframed it’s $575, framed it’s $660. The sides are white and no staples show (they’re all on the back) so it may be displayed without a frame for a contemporary look. It is signed on the back. Feel free to contact me if you’re interested.

December 23, 2008 at 4:34 pm 4 comments

Experimenting with Abstraction

As I mentioned in my last email newsletter (sign up for my newsletter here!) I’ve been experimenting with abstract painting. I’ve got all sorts of ideas I want to try. Some of my experiments haven’t come out quite the way I wanted, so they’ll remain hidden from view. But I’m willing to share the ones I like.

Here’s one I’m pretty happy with. I don’t know if I’ll do more like this, but it was a fun exercise.


This painting is 16×20″, acrylic on canvas. It doesn’t have a name yet – got any suggestions? Unlike my usual paintings, I did not paint the edges of the canvas, so they’re just plain white (3/4″ deep). With the staples on the back, it can be hung either as-is (for a sleek contemporary look) or framed (for a slightly more traditional look). If you want it, it’s available for $460 unframed or $530 in a frame. You can read more about how to purchase my work here.

December 4, 2008 at 2:16 pm 3 comments

Inspiration: Andrew Forge

I have a new artist to add to the list of those who inspire me. Well, he’s new to me anyway.

Andrew Forge (1923-2002) was born in Kent, UK, studied painting in Britain and became an academic there, eventually coming to the US and finishing out his career at various educational institutions in New England. Up until a couple weeks ago I’d never heard of him. But luckily I stumbled across a notice for an exhibit of his work in a Los Angeles gallery, went, and was completely bowled over.

He painted in several different styles through the years, but the paintings that really grabbed me were his abstract pointillist pieces. Here’s one from the gallery’s web site:

Andrew Forge, untitled, 30x40

Andrew Forge, untitled, 30x44"

I absolutely fell in love with his version of pointillism. The pointillist paintings mainly fall into two groups: monochromatic (a color field, like the one pictured above) and complementary. The latter tend to be larger pieces (50×80″) which, from a distance, appear fairly neutral in coloring but more complex in structure. Vague shapes like diagonal lines and faint curves can be seen when viewing the paintings from a distance. Then, up close, the individual dots reveal themselves to be brightly colored and mostly grouped in complementary colors, like red dots with green dots, or blue with orange. His dots are larger than Seurat’s tiny dots, about half the size of mine. He also added a few little short lines here and there mixed in with the dots. The dashes lie on top of the dots, and are thinner than the dots, so they completely disappear in the overall dazzle when you step back.

I found the difference between what you see from a distance and what you see up close so fascinating that I kept stepping back and forth to see it. Honestly, I was wandering around in a positive daze, goofy smile plastered on my face. It was the opening reception, so it probably looked like I’d drunk too much of the wine. But in fact I was drunk on the high of experiencing some really amazing art. All I’d imbibed was water.

In the past few weeks I had been contemplating painting some abstract pointillist pieces, and then this show comes along at just the right moment. It electrified me. It’s a confirmation that my ideas are sound, and at the same time it pointed me toward some new avenues that I hadn’t thought about before. I need to go back and study these paintings some more before they go away. Reproductions, especially web images, don’t do them justice.

The Andrew Forge exhibit is up October 23 through December 20, 2008, at the Manny Silverman Gallery in Los Angeles. If you’re in the area (and if you enjoy pointillism like my work, or at least don’t hate it!) I highly recommend seeing this exhibit. Andrew Forge was mainly an East Coast artist, so I don’t expect we’ll get to see much more of his work out here.

October 29, 2008 at 12:39 am

“Coastline” painting

Coastline painting by Barbara J Carter, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 24x36

"Coastline" by Barbara J Carter, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 24x36"

The central coast of California is like no other place on earth. If you ever have the chance to drive Highway 1 where it hugs the coast, between San Luis Obispo and Monterey, take it! It is by no means the most efficient means to get from point A to point B, but it is insanely beautiful and well worth the little extra time it takes. In particular, up near Big Sur it gets quite twisty and winding. The coast is all hills and cliffs there. That’s where I snapped the photo that became the reference for this painting. I kept having to pull over and jump out to take pictures. This is quite challenging, as pullouts are often quite small and come up suddenly without warning. But it was worth it!

October 17, 2008 at 4:59 pm 1 comment

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Barbara J Carter

I'm an artist. I make paintings with dots.

I work in acrylic paint, in a couple of distinct styles: landscapes and abstracts.

Native to California, I've lived elsewhere and only recently returned to my home state. I now live in Los Angeles.

I mostly show my art in outdoor festivals in California. I also occasionally show my work in art galleries or open studio events. You can see an up-to-date list of upcoming shows on my website (click here).

I invite you to sign up to receive my free email newsletter, in which I list my upcoming shows and talk about my latest work. I send it irregularly, a few times a year.

My links

My paintings

Follow me on Twitter: @barbarajcarter

Why I call my landscapes neo-Pointillist landscape paintings

A bunch of my abstract dot paintings

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