Barbara May Smythers, pastel and oil artist was accepted into the Southeastern Pastel Society's Seventeenth International Show at the Oglethorpe Museum in Atlanta, Georgia on May 19 and will hang through mid-June. Richard McKinley, an internationally known pastel artist and teacher was the juror.
Growing up in Hillsdale, N.J. a few short miles from Manhattan, Barbara’s mother, herself an oil painter, instilled two great passions: the love of nature and the love of art.
Putting these passions somewhat on hold while attending Duke University, Barbara graduated with a degree in Latin. She spent the next sixteen years teaching Latin and English in the public school system of Virginia, but taking every opportunity to nurture the heart’s call to paint, initially in a variety of media: water color, oil, and mixed media.
She took summer workshops under such national figures as Florence Thomas, trained at the Art Students’ League in New York City, and Charles McCurry of the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida.
In 1978 she was accepted into the summer program of the Slade School of Art in London, England where she studied painting and drawing with the internationally recognized faculty including the Welsh artist Ewan Uglo.
Eventually painting almost exclusively in oil, Barbara continued her studies until she was introduced to pastel several years ago by Marsha Hamby Savage a signature member of the Pastel Society of America, and a member of WomenPainters of the Southeast . A new passion was born! The immediacy and vibrancy of pastel color was intoxicating. While never fully abandoning oils, Barbara began painting more and more with pastels.
In October of 2013 Barbara had the incredible opportunity to take a 5 day workshop with Richard McKinley, a regular columnist for The Pastel Journal , author of Pastel Pointers, and a Hall of Fame member of the Pastel Society of America. He inspired a new dedication to and fervor for the medium.
Finally her two original loves in life came together: plein air painting in pastel. There is nothing Barbara loves more than to be in God’s creation evoking the feelings and sensations of shifting light and shadow as it falls across the landscape.
A signature Member of the American Impressionist Society, Barbara is currently represented by the Art and Antique Studio 1492 Highland Avenue in the Eau Gallie Arts District. Barbara's work is represented in a wide number of private and corporate collections including Wildacres Retreat House in Little Switzerland, N.C., Workman's Federal Savings and Loan in Mt. Airy, N.C.