YabYum Seven: Barbara Kemp Cowlin

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All photos courtesy of Barbara Kemp Cowlin

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Barbara Kemp Cowlin. I’m a painter living in Oracle, a small town between Phoenix and Tucson. I work with acrylic paints in 4 series—Askew, Painting Water, Bloom and Nooks & Crannies. Currently my focus is on the Askew series of my quirky interpretation of architectural details from a skewed perspective.

How did you get your start?

I’ve always been creative. Being an artist didn’t get on my radar until I was a sophomore in college when I took a studio art class for non-art majors. Switched to art, got a BFA in printmaking and MA in Community College Education majoring in art/printmaking. After graduation I gravitated to painting and have been at it ever since.

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Askew #26, Acrylic on panel, 18×18, 2018

What inspires you?

For my Askew series, overlooked architectural details with ephemeral light & color from which I create abstract, minimalist paintings which are imbued with a life of their own. Water in all forms both moving and still, from puddles to streams, rivers to lakes, magical because they are in the desert, for my Painting Water series. For the Bloom series, gatherings of oddball flowers for which I add personality and include pattern. Nooks & Crannies are architectural paintings similar to the Askew series but showing a the broader scene. They are more realistic and detailed.

What do you like about AZ?

I’ve lived in Arizona for most of my adult life, both in Flagstaff, then Phoenix for 23 years and now Oracle. I love the light which makes both manmade and natural scenes crystal clear and vibrant. I like Oracle because there are virtually no distractions, so I’m not tempted to leave my studio and I love Phoenix because it was my home for so long, I’m there at least a couple times a month for a dose of the city, the arts, friends and food!

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Askew #35, Acrylic on panel, 10×10, 2018

Where can we see you(r) work?

My website is barbarakempcowlin.com

Solo show, Upstairs & Around the Corner at The Balcony@London Gold, up through August 27th and open during store hours (Mondays 10-7pm, Tues-Fri 10-6pm, Saturday 10:30-5, closed Sunday)

All Art Arizona at Art Intersection, Gilbert, up through July 28th.

Arizona Otherworldly at Tohono Chul Main Gallery, Tucson, through August 12.

By appointment, my studio in Oracle—contact me at barbara@barbaracowlin.com

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

Continuing to paint every day until I die would be my best accomplishment.

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Askew #28, Acrylic on panel, 10×10, 2018

What is your mantra?

“Let inspiration find you working.” A quote by an art professor of mine who paraphrased it from a quote by Pablo Picasso. Something that keeps me in my studio…


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Askew #17, Acrylic on panel, 14×14, 2018

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