In the Spotlight: Barbara Kemp Cowlin

barbara kemp cowlin


I am a painter, living in rural Arizona between Phoenix and Tucson. My studio is adjacent to my home. I have lived in the Southwest for most of my adult life. I have a BFA in printmaking and an MA, also in printmaking. I have worked in the arts as an art teacher (all levels from 1st grade through university), arts administrator and graphic designer.


I work in acrylic paint because I love the versatility of the medium and the way in which I am able to enjoy the happy accident which leads my work in interesting directions. I feel like I have a partnership between my own ideas and the paint, leading me to new levels of experimentation and creativity.


I have been working on a series I call “Askew” for the past three years. These paintings are hard edged and play with skewed perspective, fanciful colors and imaginary details of architectural interiors and exteriors. They begin with a structure based on reference photographs and diverge from there. Multiple layers and varied texture are juxtaposed with the hard edges to create complex images.


I want to keep experimenting and growing as an artist. I plan to stay within the framework of my current series and push it as far as it can go. As I progress, I will let the process lead the way to keep me excited and challenged by my work.


While I work in isolation in my studio, I believe that creating something brand new and putting it out into the world is important. If my work can touch others and lead them to view the ordinary scenes around them as potentially extraordinary if they just look closely and let their imagination run free, it will enrich their lives and make what I do worthwhile.


I love painting. For most of my adult life I’ve sandwiched painting between full time jobs in the arts. When I earned my art degrees I promised myself that I would keep making art no matter what. Now, years later, I’m in the position of having a beautiful studio and time to work consistently. I continue to make the most of every minute in my studio. For me, this is my success story.

Thank you, Barbara.

Artist page

Instagram: @barbarakempcowlin


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