The world is speeding up and a lot of things are but a swipe away. However, there are emotions that cannot be read in a split second. With a graduate degree in psychology, Tereza Barnard (b. 1984) has learnt that hidden but key features take time to be observed and reveal themselves. Barnard uses realism, narrative elements, and sometimes abstract features to allow her viewers to slow down, observe the hidden layers, and enter the inner worlds of her sitters as well as her own. In doing so, she hopes they will find beauty, inspiration, but most notable a time for themselves to think. Barnard is a self taught artist and can take up to three months to finish a painting as she extensively observes the micro expressions of her subjects.
What initially drew you to your medium/media of choice?
I've always liked the vibrant color choices, the smell, and its history. I was mesmerized by oil paints from an early age.
What aspect of your art do you hope comes across to your audience?
Who inspires you in your life, artistically or otherwise?
People-watching and specifically observing my three children. The way they look at stuff, the way they move, the way they express emotions. I note it down, and it comes across in my work. For example, recently, I started paying attention to how the blood vessels become visible under their skin when they're a tiny bit cold and how it's such a telltale sign of a child's skin. I started putting that in my artwork, which adds to its realism.
What keeps you going as an artist? Where do you find that creative drive?
There is simply nothing else I'd rather be doing. And that's a huge motivation. I have to make it work because I don’t want to spend my life in doing something I enjoy less.
Tell us about your primary goal for the future. Has this goal changed over time?
I am working on paintings for the LA Art Show with Arcadia Contemporary Gallery in February 2023. My current goal for the near future is to finish those paintings as I planned them. There is a bit more to it than that. Not all my painting days are equal. I have times when I'm capable of seeing stuff with raw honesty and translating that onto a painting board, and then I have days where I feel like what I painted was a bit bland. I want to practice more to be capable of translating what I see into the painting with even more honesty, but not without empathy.