Have you ever wondered what goes on behind-the-scenes in studios of local artists? On Saturday, July 25, Montgomery artist Barbara Davis will broadcast live on the Museum’s Instagram—opening her studio space to share her artwork, reflect on her inspirations, and offer a live Q&A with her audience! This is a great chance to meet one of our local artists and learn about her creations.
Above is a recording of the July 25 live stream event that was originally broadcast on the Museum’s Instagram account. Click here to follow the Museum on Instagram.
Meet the Artist
Local Artists Live will feature Barbara Davis this Saturday, July 25. Barbara loves this place she calls home, and her passion for Southern living shines through in her artwork. Barbara has lived in Montgomery all of her life and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She has fond memories of attending Floyd Elementary School, where she was creatively engaged–“always with crayon in hand”–and where she even met her husband when they were both in the third grade! In her youth, Barbara was a Girl Scout; her favorite badge was the Dabbler Badge because it required the completion of fun art-related activities, such as soap carving.
A die-hard Auburn fan, Barbara attended the university’s affiliated campus, Auburn University at Montgomery, where she earned a degree in Fine Arts after much consideration and prayer. After college, she found herself in a banking career. Though she regularly continued to paint, there were many years when she thought that earning a living as an artist was an impossible dream. Finally, in 2010, Barbara transitioned to being an artist full-time, and as they say, the rest is history.
Barbara believes that the best way to grow as an artist is to create something every day, and that is what she does! Join Barbara this Saturday morning at 10 AM when she goes Live on the Museum’s Instagram account and demonstrates her painting style which seems to effortlessly capture soft light with such tangible vibrance.
What is your favorite thing about living in the South?
Gracious living—which to me encompasses the heart of the people, the hospitality, the style, the food! Too hard to pick one thing!
What excites you most about the growth of Montgomery’s art scene?
So many artists are full-time artists and I love that evidence that there is the desire to pursue it and that the community and collectors support that desire.
What is your favorite work of art from the MMFA’s collection, and what specifically about the artwork speaks strongly to you? Who are some artists with works in the MMFA’s collection that inspire you?
There are several…the pieces in the collection by John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt (at right), Edward Hopper are the ones I am absolutely most drawn to – particularly the Sargent. The amazing brushwork is like an art lesson in itself! Not only the brushwork but the color. Amazing!
Also, [John] Kelly Fitzpatrick’s paintings especially inspire me, of course, since they are rooted in our area. I adore the color, the texture, the brushwork, and the light he captured in the scenes of Alabama in that time period.
What piece of art that you have created is your favorite, and why?
Hard to say, but I think it’s a portrait that I did of Auburn sports announcer Rod Bramblett (at right) the week after he was killed in a car accident. I was recovering from shoulder surgery which I had just after returning from learning at the Portrait Society of America convention. I was eager to use some techniques, ideas, and tools gained from my study there. I had not been able to paint for weeks. So the painting is born of love and grief and exploration—just a lot of emotion—and I think it resonated with a lot of people.
Do you have an all-time favorite work of art, and have you seen it in person? If you have, how did you feel in the moment?
It’s a sculpture, The Pieta by Michelangelo, and I have not been able to see it in person. I can’t even imagine being able to see it in person!
Tell us about your most preferred place to be on earth. What role, if any, has the energy of that place helped shape you as an artist?
My preferred place is right where I am. I love the fields, skies, flowers, people, and experiences of home. It constantly inspires me. I hope my work honors this place, these roots. There’s nothing like painting plein air under a big sky in Pike Road, Alabama.
What drives your creativity?
I think I would say light. The effect of light is what makes my heart beat faster, what makes me know I want to paint something!
What is your preferred medium?
Do you listen to any particular music when you create?
Yes, I do listen to music when I paint, but I love so many different genres–depends on the season, the day, the mood and sometimes the painting subject. I love classical, early jazz, French music, bluegrass, Big Band, 60s and 70s, old standards, old classic country. Sort of an old soul, for sure.
What advice would you give to beginning artists?
Never give up! If you have that dream, pursue it and don’t give up, but you have to work hard! Draw every day, paint all you can! Commit to creating for at least 5 minutes a day!
Above: Barbara Davis, Day by Day, 2019, 36”x36”, oil