|Subtleties of Spring|
Barbara recalls early affirmations of her paintings, in particular, her first award. She was in grade four and studying the Norseman. During art class at school, Barbara painted a depiction of the Norseman people, a woman and man she remembers it plain as day. The judges were quick to conclude that the painting was too good for the age group, but her teacher stepped in offering an award to Barbara - a quarter. While attending BCIVS, she continued to take art classes. She recalls Miss Pallette, an excellent art teacher who would often take the class outside to paint. Barbara remembers the back entrance of the old Corby building catching her eye. She painted this historic building and the flowers that naturally sprawled across the long stone wall. This may be one of the earliest pieces in her collection where the subject matter is historic.In fact, when listening to Barbara describe her paintings, it is clear they are all historic in nature. Whether it be historic buildings, historic locations, or the models used - all of whom are family and close friends- these paintings capture a moment in history. They are simply beautiful, hold memories that are priceless and quite characteristically Canadian.
|Huts on the Ice|
Mainly working with oil and pastels, Barbara's paintings are easily recognizable, and her particular style lends itself nicely to the familiar scenes of Ontario. She is well known for her many winter scenes of children tobogganing, ice fishing huts scattered on the bay creating little temporary villages, skating on the harbour in Belleville, as well as the cannel in Ottawa. Her summer landscapes too capture those hot days enjoying the sun and the long beach at the Sandbanks Provincial Park.
Barbara Whelan is truly and deeply connected to her community. She is a founding member of the Belleville Art Association, the Burlington Fine Arts Association and Gallery One Twenty One. She also founded "Art on the Fence" in Ameliasburg.
Of her experience with her work, Barbara most enjoyed meeting other artists. She recalls with great admiration the time she spent with Bea Williamson, an artist and a true friend to Barbara. She studied with Paavo Ariola and credits some of her techniques to his teachings. She spent time with Don Fraser while critiquing his work, those very strong paintings. "I have never wanted to steal anything in my life - that is until I saw Don Fraser's sketch book." She cherishes these relationships and has dedicated a wall in her home to the many artists that have touched her life. This great wall includes the works of Lucy Manly, Robert Huffman, Anne Fales, Linda Barber, Peter Bates and so many more. Barbara is also grateful to the many long time and amazing relationships she has with people that have bought her paintings over the years.
Barbara has been living with the effects of Parkinson's for the past seven years, and although this has changed her daily life, she continues to paint. Reflecting on more than eight decades of work, with pieces in collections all over the world, Barbara Whelan is certainly an artist of distinction.
The Link magazine. To see more of Barbara's paintings, you can visit Quinn's of Tweed Fine Art Gallery.