cleaning the studio...

...and other adventures in art

three painters: figure + form

Another upcoming show, this time with my two painting partners, Claire Thorson and Tom Maderos. We’ve been painting together for several years, working from the model. This is our first time showing these paintings together.

The show will be at Michaelangelo Gallery in Santa Cruz during the month of October. First Friday Reception: October 1, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

And, yes, my Open Studios is during this show. Many of my smaller paintings will be in this show, and larger paintings and other works will be at my studio. I invite you to go see both!

Barbara Downs announcement for Three Painters: Figure + Form exhibition


I’ve been drawing. I’ve been painting too, but I try to always find some time for drawing.

Here are a few of my recent favorites. All are around 20″ x 30″.

the state of the studio

I’m getting ready for Search for Self, a painting exhibition at Monterey Peninsula College in November/December.  I will be in the show with two other Santa Cruz artists, Sefla Joseph and Ursula O’Farrell.

Here is what my studio is looking like now, with some paintings that are being finished for the show.

Barbara Downs' studio with many paintings out

I’m famous!

The Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County made a short video promoting the upcoming Open Studios and asked me to do an encaustic demo for the video.  That’s me in the awful blue-green plaid shirt. (Hey!  It’s studio clothing!)

My daughter pointed out that everyone else in the video is delicately and precisely doing their work, but I’m just grabbing for the wax with one hand while I’m inattentively using the heat gun with the other.

In spite of that, that piece I’m working on is now almost finished and looks great.

color! and more!

I’m finishing some paintings for an exhibit in November at Monterey Peninsula College.  The exhibit will be with two other Santa Cruz abstract figurative artists.  I’ll post more information about the show as I receive it.

Here are some crops from the current paintings.  As you can see, color figures prominently.  Faces and body language are also of importance to me in my painting.

upcoming exhibits

I have several exhibits opening in the next few weeks.  You can see my link on the right sidebar, “Current and Upcoming Events” for details.

Two exhibits are holding receptions on the same day, September 12. I’ll be at Los Pájaros first, which is an exhibit of bird-themed art at PVAC in Watsonville. I have two encaustic pieces and one sculpture in this show.

After that, I’ll go to Cabrillo College for the statewide exhibit California, curated by Ruth Braunstein and Shannon Trimble of the Braunstein/Quay gallery in SF. I have an encaustic piece in this show.

cleaning the studio…

After the flurry of activity finishing the 50 Daily Birds, I really did have to clean the studio. As I cleaned, I was able to clear my head from the last work and think about the next work. Here are some ‘before’ photos.

And, ‘after’…

Now I’m ready to paint!

I have a few larger encaustic pieces to finish up, and some sculpture ideas which are calling to me, but most of my work now will be painting for the next month or two. I have several large paintings that are close to being done, including some for an upcoming show. More about that show soon.