Hiking in the New Year

I’m not “ringing” in the New Year, I’m “hiking” it in! Getting out and tramping around is how I get inspired to paint.

After abundant winter rains, southern California greened up. This is as green as it gets!

Cheseboro Canyon Cheseboro Canyon after the rains.

Yeah, it’s still pretty brown out there. That’s why I like to spice up the colors a little in my paintings. (Maybe more than “a little.”)

"A Touch of Sun" painting by Barbara J Carter “A Touch of Sun” by Barbara J Carter, acrylic on canvas, 11×14 inches

If you missed seeing my art in 2012, fret not. I’m planning to get out and exhibit more in 2013. Being on my mailing list is the best way to get reminders about my shows. Click here to join, and I’ll see you at my next show!


January 3, 2013 at 11:41 am

Silverlake Open Studios Nov. 10-11, 2012

An annual tradition, I’m showing my work at the Silverlake Open Studio tour this weekend, November 10-11, 2012. That’s the Silverlake neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Now, my studio isn’t in Silverlake. I sneakily get into the tour by showing at a friend’s studio, which is in Silverlake. Fred Chuang has graciously given me space on the tour for several years now. Here’s the street view:

Fred and I hang our work side by side and then hang out together all weekend. It’s a very casual, drop-in kind of event. We’ll have drinks and munchies, including Fred’s famous turkey chili (mild by default, but possible to hot up with optional saucy additions). Fred’s lovely dogs will be on hand to greet everyone (and beg for chili). It’s good, relaxed fun. I hope we’ll see you there!

Silverlake Art Collective Annual Open Studios
Saturday & Sunday
November 10-11, 2012
12 noon to 5pm
2974 Waverly Drive, Los Angeles, California

November 7, 2012 at 8:17 am

Silver Lake Art Collective annual exhibit 2012

Fall is in the air, and the annual Silver Lake Art Collective annual exhibit is on!

Following careful preparation…

the show is finally ready for prime time. My work is there…

(If you’re not sure which ones are mine, you should maybe take another look at my website for a refresher.)

And of course that of many other artists, both 2D and 3D…

Want to come see? The show is free and open to the public. And there are receptions! Both an opening and a closing reception… no end to the fun. You should definitely stop by.

Silver Lake Art Collective Annual Exhibit “Spectrum 2012”
Citibank Art Space Gallery
2450 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles (between the bank branch and the coin-op laundry)

Opening Reception: Saturday Oct 20, 2012, 6-10pm.

Open Hours: Fridays through Sundays Oct 21-Nov 17, 2012. 12-8pm Fridays and Saturdays, 12-5pm Sundays.

Open Studio Tour: Saturday and Sunday Nov 10-11, 2012, 12-5pm. See my website for details.

Closing Reception: Saturday Nov 17, 2012, 6-10pm.

October 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Highlights from Art Platform L.A. 2012

The two-year-old international art fair Art Platform was held September 28-30, 2012 in Santa Monica, California.

That also happened to be the weekend when the biggest freeway of Los Angeles was entirely shut down for 2 days of massive construction work. I avoided the traffic nightmare by visiting on Friday before the shutdown. It surely had some negative impact on attendance Saturday and Sunday, but I don’t know how bad. My heart goes out to the galleries, many from very far away (Tokyo, Hong Kong, Miami and Amsterdam to name a few), who were taken entirely by surprise at this turn of events. I hope they did OK and sold enough art to at least pay their expenses.

It was pretty quiet Friday morning (exactly how I like it):

Art Platform 2012

I didn’t know what to expect from this contemporary art show. I’m not a fan of all contemporary art, indeed I find much of it sophomoric and ugly. Happily I saw a lot to like at this one.

I took too many photos to show you everything I liked. I’ll just show you some highlights to whet your appetite. Consider this the tip of the iceberg.

One of the first booths I visited was Now Contemporary from Miami, where the entire booth was devoted to the work of a single artist: Federico Uribe. I loved his playful animals made from recycled books, bike tires, sneakers and pencils.

Zebras by Federico Uribe

A wall of zebras made from recycled bike tires and sneakers. Detail below:

Detail of zebras by Federico Uribe

Uribe’s massive giraffe made from colored pencils hung cantilevered over the rest of the booth and was, for me, the star of the show. I’ll admit I did wonder about the structural integrity of the display wall it was hung from.

Giraffe by Federico Uribe

The giraffe’s brown spots are brown pencils, the white lines are white pencils. Its mane is a bunch of sharpened pencils standing straight up. Clever, eh? Every home should have one.

Speaking of pencils as a sculptural medium, artist Lionel Bawden also uses pencils. He glues colored pencils together into solid blocks and then carves beautifully sinuous shapes from them:

Lionel Bawden Lionel Bawden, the amorphous ones (the spirit of repetition), 2011, white Staedtler pencils, epoxy and incralac, 25 x 11 x 28 inches. Shown by Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. The “pedestal” is a simple stack of plain white paper. If you buy the sculpture you get the paper too. (I had to ask.)

Wandering about, I noticed several hallway displays of large hard-edged paintings. They seemed very familiar. I quickly realized these were pieces by Karl Benjamin, who passed away just this year.

Karl Benjamin paintings from 1977-78 Paintings by Karl Benjamin from 1977-1978. I liked these better than from other periods.

Karl Benjamin at Louis Stern Fine Arts Karl Benjamin paintings from ca.1984, shown by Louis Stern Fine Arts.

At first I was moved by the displays honoring the recently deceased artist. But then I wondered: are these galleries just looking to cash in now that the artist is gone? One of those thoughts was unworthy, but I’m not sure which.

There were other convergences to be seen. It’s always fun to pick out the coincidences and muse on whether they represent trends or mere statistical flukes.

One trend I spotted was round works. The “tondo” (a fancy term for a round painting) was much in evidence at this show, in various media. Here are a few examples that I particularly liked:

Hadieh Shafie

This intriguing work by Hadieh Shafie was shown by the Leila Heller Gallery from New York. It’s 3 feet across. The colored bits are tight coils of paper, colored on the edge and written lengthwise with arabic script that says, simply, “love.” How delightful! Here’s a detail from the side:

Hadieh Shafie detail

Close to my own heart, artist Michelle Grabner paints small dots in neat rows and tight spirals. A small nonprofit exhibit space from the Netherlands, PS (Amsterdam), had a single painting of hers on display:

Michelle Grabner painting

The painting was about 2 feet across. Detail below:

Michelle Grabner detail

The backdrop behind this painting was more dots, in bright pink, plastered over the entire booth. Dots on dots – a dizzying effect!

Another round piece caught my eye because of its bright colors, and held my interest because of the unusual materials. This is by Yael Kanarek, shown by bitforms from New York:

Yael Kanarek White between “The Green Blouse” and sneakers, No. 1

The luscious material is cast silicone, colored and hand-cast by the artist. The shapes are words. In this piece, the words all say “white” in 9 different languages.

One more circle painting:

Sungyee Kim

This is Lament/A Thousand Tear Drops For You, 36×28 inches, 2009, by Sungyee Kim, shown by the Mindy Solomon Gallery of St. Petersburg, Florida. All it said was “mixed media,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some encaustic involved. I love the translucent depth you get with encaustic.

Speaking of depth, I was attracted to a good many pieces with depth or layers. Even just a hint of depth is enough to quicken my pulse. Why is that?

Here are some of my favorites:

Tom Wesselmann Tom Wesselmann, Maquette for Negative Blue (Deep), 1996, liquitex on bristol board, 7 1/8 x 6 1/4 x 1/2 inches. Shown by Forum Gallery, Los Angeles.

Liam Gillick Liam Gillick, Weekday in Sochaux, 2005, anodized aluminum in 4 layers/colors. Shown by Galerie Sho Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

Satoshi Uchiyama Satoshi Uchiyama detail Satoshi Uchiyama, Soaked Paintings, acrylic paint on wooden objects, about 4 to 10 inches each. These works reference the 2011 tsunami. Shown by eitoeiko, Tokyo.

Jaq Belcher - Unbounded 2011 Jaq Belcher, Unbounded, 2011, hand-cut paper (17,020 cuts), 48×84 inches. Shown by (and photo courtesy of ) JHB Gallery, New York. Detail below:

Jaq Belcher detail

That’s enough! If you need to see more, you’ll just have to come to the show next year. See you there!

October 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm 1 comment

Kings Mountain Art Fair

If you want to see my latest paintings, you need to come to my next show: the Kings Mountain Art Fair, Labor Day Weekend, September 1-3, 2012.

People who come to the show get first crack at the new stuff. I only put the new paintings up on my website after the show is over, by which time many may have sold. (But people on my mailing list get a sneak peek. You should get on my mailing list.)

The Kings Mountain Art Fair is in the Bay Area of California, “up north” as we Angelenos say.

This year marks the show’s 49th anniversary. (It’s older than I am.) It is an amazing and magical event, not to be missed. I hope to see you there!

Kings Mountain Art Fair
Saturday, Sunday & Monday September 1-3, 2012
10am – 5pm
Free admission, free parking, free shuttle.
13889 Skyline Blvd, Woodside, CA

You can always find an up-to-date list of my upcoming shows on my website.

August 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm

New painting: “Hills”

Between Los Angeles and San Francisco lie hundreds of miles of California landscape. Somewhere out there I snapped a photo out the car window. A few years later a painting emerged.

This one’s a bit different from the rest. No trees. No water. No buildings. Just the dry grass-covered hills of California glowing in the sun. The absence of features like trees leaves the painting with a spare, abstract composition. Land and sky, that’s it.

"Hills" painting by Barbara J Carter “Hills” painting by Barbara J Carter, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 18×24 inches.

Purchase information here.

June 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm 4 comments

Art Show in Thousand Oaks, California June 2-3, 2012

My next art show is coming up!

Conejo Valley Art Museum Artwalk 2012 is an outdoor fine art and craft show held the first weekend of June every year. I haven’t shown at this event in a few years, so I think it’s about time I returned. A number of my collectors live in the area. I’d love to see them again, and of course I’d love to get some new collectors too!

I’ll have a bunch of new paintings at this show. I’m keeping them off my website until after the show, to give “first pick” to those who come to the show. If you’re in the area, I do hope you’ll stop by! Look for me in Booth 76.

Conejo Valley Art Museum Artwalk, photo by Barbara J Carter

Conejo Valley Art Museum Artwalk 2012

Saturday & Sunday June 2nd & 3rd, 2012
10 am to 5 pm
Free admission, free parking

Art & Fine Crafts
Food and Beverages
Live Music
Children’s Hands-on Art

Bank of America grounds (formerly Countrywide)
152 West Hillcrest Drive (click for map)
Thousand Oaks, California
Exit 101 Ventura Freeway at Lynn or Moorpark Rd

Conejo Valley Art Museum Artwalk 2008, photo by Barbara J Carter

You can always find an up-to-date list of my shows on my website.

May 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Conquering the Google*

I just made a momentous purchase. I bought the web domain barbaracarter.com.

Wait, I hear you say, don’t I already have my own domain? I have a website, and it shows up (right at the top, in fact) if you Google my name.

google search for Barbara Carter

Yes, I’ve had my own website for a long time. But not quite that one. I had barbarajcarter.com. With a “J” in the middle. Because J is my middle initial. (I’m logical like that.)

I could say I chose to include my middle initial because it sets me apart from all the other Barbara Carters out there. (There are a lot of them!) But the reality is I wasn’t able to get the domain I wanted when I first started out.

It was quite a shock, frankly. I was pretty early into the “grab your domain” game when the internet was new, so I figured there wouldn’t be any problem getting my name. Yet when I went to look, I discovered that some singer had already grabbed barbaracarter.com. Drat! What to do? My artistic career seemed to be going up in smoke before my eyes. How could I become a famous and well-respected artist without my own website?

Oh sure, I could have stuck “art” to the end and used barbaracarterart.com or something. But I hated the idea. It was too obviously a second-best choice. I knew putting a hyphen in the middle (barbara-carter.com) would be a bad idea: no one would remember the stupid hyphen. So I gritted my teeth and made do with the J.

And with that, I decided to embrace the J. It would become my unique identity, my signature. I determined to use it everywhere. I included the J in this blog (barbarajcarter.wordpress.com), my Twitter account (@barbarajcarter) and Facebook (Barbara J Carter). It’s on all my business cards and postcards. I sign all my paintings with it. If I’m showing at an art festival and they give me a booth sign without the “J,” I write it in. I put it everywhere.

Not long after, the singer let her website lapse and a squatter domain flipper snapped up barbaracarter.com. They didn’t use it for anything, they just wanted to sell it to the highest bidder. They were asking $700 for it. I just smiled. No way could I justify that kind of expense. My art business was operating on a shoestring budget in those early years. Paying that kind of money for a “nice to have” was out of the question.

So, I made do. I learned how to optimize my website for search-engine traffic looking for my name (with or without the “J”). Soon enough my site was #1 ranked for a Google search on “Barbara Carter.” I was satisfied, for the moment.

bing search for Barbara Carter

Fast-forward to 2012. My art business is doing much better now, and my budget is no longer quite so shoestring-like. I thought maybe, if I bargain them down a little, I could afford to purchase the domain. I don’t absolutely need it, I’ve lived this long without it, but it would be nice to have. It would help secure my #1 Google position. I looked, and now they wanted $1000. Greedy bastards, I snorted. But I got someone on the phone and dickered him down to a more reasonable number. Ta da! I am now the proud owner of barbaracarter.com.

And I won’t ever let it lapse.

(*Thanks to my Twitter artist friend @rejinl for the phrase “conquering the Google.”)

May 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm 3 comments

My art shows in 2012

So far I have two art shows confirmed for 2012, one in southern California and one in northern California:

ArtWalk 2009 photo by Barbara J Carter

Conejo Valley Art Museum ArtWalk
Thousand Oaks, California.
Saturday & Sunday June 2-3, 2012, 10am-5pm both days. (more info here)

The last time I did this show was three years ago. Maybe it’s time to go back, eh? I’m looking forward to it!

Kings Mountain 2010 photo by Barbara J Carter

Kings Mountain Art Fair
Woodside, California
Saturday-Monday Sept 1-3, 2012 (Labor Day Weekend). (more info here)

This will be my third year at this fabulous show. It’s been my best show two years in a row. Let’s make it three!


Want to know about my upcoming shows? You should subscribe to my email newsletter. I send out an email a few times a year, reminding about my upcoming shows and giving sneak peeks of my latest paintings. (It’s not the same as this blog, it’s a private email just to you and my other fans.) You can subscribe here.

April 2, 2012 at 5:52 am

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

Older Posts Newer Posts

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

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 136 other subscribers


Newsletter Signup

Click here to receive my free email newsletter for up-to-date info on my shows, my art, and anything else that I'm up to. I send it out irregularly, a few times a year.

Find Articles by Date