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

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 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 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 or something. But I hated the idea. It was too obviously a second-best choice. I knew putting a hyphen in the middle ( 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 (, 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 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

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

Art LA Contemporary 2012

Rounding out the lineup of major art fairs in Los Angeles this January, we come at last to the outlier: Art LA Contemporary. Unlike the other shows which were held downtown, this one took place in Santa Monica. It’s a long haul from downtown to Santa Monica, and there’s no public transportation between the two. (You gotta have a car. It’s Los Angeles.)

Art LA Contemporary, having the word “Contemporary” in the name, is aiming for the bleeding edge of cutting edge art. The artists aren’t just alive, many of them are barely out of their teens. It’s conceptual art, mostly. Which means I’m going to take a pretty jaundiced view going in, because frankly most conceptual art comes off as childish and ridiculous to me. Not all, but a goodly percentage. Still, I enjoyed last year’s show well enough to return this year. Buried amongst all the pretentiousness is the occasional gem, and that’s what I like to concentrate on.

Let’s take a look.

Art LA Contemporary 2012, photo by Barbara J Carter

The show isn’t huge, and it’s laid out in a very easy-to-understand grid. You can go through it pretty quickly and find the few pieces you really like.

Holton Rower, poured paint Holton Rower, poured paint over square forms, shown by The Hole, New York.

I had previously seen this video showing how the artist pours the paint, so it was fun to see the finished product in person. This is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” ideas. Simple but elegant. And I do love all the dazzling colors.

light sculpture Light sculpture by Ryan Perez (according to commenter Brett Schultz), shown by Yautepec Gallery, Mexico City.

Again I’m drawn to the simple idea, well executed. It’s just wood and fluorescent tubes, but this piece made a dramatic statement. It is admittedly a little reminiscent of Dan Flavin (an artist known for his work with fluorescent light tubes) but I think this is distinctive enough not to be derivative. I’m sorry I don’t know who the artist is, there was no sign in the booth and the gallery’s website doesn’t help. Thanks to commenter Brett Schultz for identifying the artist. (Too bad there’s no photo of the piece on his website.)

At another booth, I found myself snapping photos of several pieces by several different artists, rather than my usual one (or none!). This was the booth of Quint Contemporary Art in La Jolla, California (near San Diego). Any time I see a high concentration of work I like, I figure this is a gallery I should pay closer attention to. Here are the pieces that caught my eye:

Ryan McGinness, Women Parts series Ryan McGinness, Women Parts series, acrylic on paper, 30×22 inches, shown by Quint Contemporary Art.

Thomas Glassford, Espejo 1, anodized aluminum Thomas Glassford, Espejo 1, 2011, anodized aluminum, 32×42 inches, shown by Quint Contemporary Art.

The more I looked at this piece, the more I liked it. You could see the different kinds of industrial aluminum extrusions used: threshold, drip edging, siding, and other common building materials. The varying textures and colors are playful, which I appreciate. I like art that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Peter Alexander, Royal Blue Drip Peter Alexander, Royal Blue Drip, 2011, polyester resin, 24×18 inches, shown by Quint Contemporary Art.

I enjoyed the simple yet luscious sensuality of this piece. It looked a little like slumped glass, thick and heavy yet floating slightly away from the wall. There’s no way Royal Blue Drip is the right title for this piece. I’m guessing Royal Blue Drip sold and was taken down and replaced by this similar green piece (probably called Kelly Green Drip or somesuch) and no one bothered to fix the wall label.

Kim MacConnel Kim MacConnel, enamel on board, shown by Quint Contemporary Art.

I could just sit and stare at these all day. Love!

Continuing my stroll through the show, here are some more pieces that caught my eye:

Zoi Gaitanidou Zoi Gaitanidou, textile work, shown by David Castillo Gallery, Miami, Florida.

artist unknown Unknown artist, shown by Altman Siegel, San Francisco, California.

Sergio Sister Sérgio Sister, Caixa series, 15x10x3 inches each, shown by Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York. Not dissimilar to the previous artist, eh?

Andrew Schoultz, Melting Gold Flag (Made in China) Andrew Schoultz, Melting Gold Flag (Made in China), 2011, gold leaf, acrylic, and molten gold fluid on stretched American flag, 30×54 inches, shown by Jerome Zodo Contemporary, Milan. Sold, but no price shown.

Marco Maggi Marco Maggi, cut paper in slide mounts, 2×2 inches each, shown by Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York. These utterly fascinated me. The intricate precision of each tiny cut had to be seen to be believed. He must use a very sharp surgical scalpel to make these. Click on the photo for a bigger version.

Marco Maggi More by Marco Maggi. Because they’re so amazing!

Frances Richardson, detail Frances Richardson, 010611, colored pencil on paper, detail. Shown by Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles. Full view below:

Frances Richardson, 010611 Frances Richardson, 010611, 2011, colored pencil on paper, 19×26 inches.

Mike Pratt, Redred Mike Pratt, Redred, 2011, oil, enamel and resin on canvas, 83×55 inches, shown by Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK.

Georgi Tushev Georgi Tushev, Strange Attractor series, oil painting with embedded iron filings, shown by Fitzroy Gallery, New York. You can see more photos of this series here. I was fascinated by the dimensionality this artist achieved with such simple materials. He apparently uses a powerful magnet to draw the wet paint up into these spiky, mounded shapes, which retain their shape as the paint dries.

The prize for most colorful wall at the show goes to the same gallery, Fitzroy Gallery of New York, for the outside of their booth:

Fitzroy Gallery booth at Art LA Contemporary 2012

And the prize for the biggest paintings of… nothing in particular, but in REALLY bright colors and cheerful, goofy shapes goes to Ed Moses shown by ACE Gallery, Los Angeles:

Ed Moses at ACE Gallery

Ed Moses is turning 86 this year, and still paints every day. A good example for us all, I think.

You may have noticed that none of the art had prices. There were no price tags at this show. Apparently being cutting edge means avoiding all trappings of commerce. We’ll have none of that filthy capitalism here, we’re above all that!

Never mind the foolishness, it was a fun show. Totally worth the $6 Groupon admission price. Thank you Groupon!

February 10, 2012 at 4:50 am 4 comments

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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.

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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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