John Barnard studied at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, served in World War II in the Pacific and then chose to go to college at the University of Georgia because of its
fine art department. There he was quickly invited to attend the Graduate Art Classes of Lamar Dodd who became a lasting influence on Barnard.
Upon graduation, John moved to Mexico and later to Venezuela where in addition to painting he worked in the electrical industry. Though he rose to top management, he always felt he worked only
to support his painting and family. After 25 years overseas, John's wife persuaded him to quit and in 1973 they moved to Atascadero, California.
Here in the beauty of California’s Central Coast, Barnard became a prolific painter. Though his subject matter is chiefly local scenery, he gives his imagination free reign to conjure up cityscapes
and market scenes pulled from other times and places in his life. These days he works primarily in watercolor due to limited space at the assisted living facility. In years
past he also painted in acrylic, casein and water soluble oils.
Barnard’s work is characterized by its energy and a boundless variety in style and approach. He finds in his world limitless inspiration to express himself differently every day, and feels his work is evolving toward greater freedom of line and stronger color.
Barnard’s work has been juried into many shows, is held in numerous institutional and private collections and appears in several books on the art of watercolor.
Though John was quite ill the fall of 2015, he began painting once again the spring of 2016. Painting is his passion and gives him a purpose in life. “My Dad has to paint to live like the rest of us have to breathe to live,” says his daughter, Babs Barnard Proctor.
“There is so much to paint. I get up in the morning and can hardly wait to start. I am not a formula painter. I don't worry about style. I have fun. Painting is different from writing—writing is an intellectual thing. Painting for me is spontaneous. All that stuff is in there—I just let it flow out and don't worry about it.
For me watercolor is a happy, joyous medium. The colors are clean, transparent, flowing and bright. The paper is beautiful, so I let it show and sparkle. Too much detailed drawing can stifle the imagination. I want you to see the brush strokes—even the drips. I want you to know how I feel about the painting and to see the subject in a new and different way. It's not enough to be technically good; a painting has to have emotion in it.
Painting is an addiction. I need to paint every day. Art is important.”
A sampling of the Museums, national and international exhibitions John has participated in:
- Texas Watercolor Annual Exhibition
- National Watercolor 77th Annual Exhibition
- Watercolor USA 1991, 1992 and 1993 Patron Purchase Award
- Springfield Art Museum Purchase Award
- San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
- Watercolor USA Honor Society
- Watercolor West
- Texas Watercolor Society
- Rocky Mountain National
- Central Coast Watercolor Society