World-renowned artist, Jackson Pollock, once said, “When I say artist I mean the one who is building things…some with a brush, some with a shovel, some choose a pen.” Barbara Diane Barry has chosen two of the three.
This artist-by-trade and hobby took her love for painting as a means of self-expression and has been teaching it to others through her popular course, Art for Self-Discovery. This workshop series empowers individuals with the ability to improvise and take risks with art, enabling them to quiet their inner critics, grow their creativity, and tap into a highly productive way to de-stress.
In putting pen to paper, Barry has now written Painting Your Way Out of a Corner, a book that couples the information and techniques from her course with psychology and brain function research to show people how to get the most from the painting experience. But, as Barry herself explains, painting and writing are one in the same.
Day: What prompted you to go down this path?
Barry: After a painful divorce, I decided to leave the suburbs and move to Manhattan. I wanted to try something new, be in a bigger area. Instead of the experience being freeing, I found myself terrified, afraid to make decisions involving money and overwhelmed by the prospect of getting out and finding a job. Just getting out of bed was a herculean effort.
That’s when I pulled out a painting journal I had begun some years ago to work through painting blocks, and decided to let it help me to do simple things that were no longer simple. Move the brush, move the mind. The process of taking little risks on paper with my brush was so instrumental in helping me face my fears and the angst of the day, I knew I had to share this with others.
When I first started teaching improvisational painting in Art for Self-Discovery classes, I wrote a series of letters or essays to my students. I wanted to help them reflect on the day’s starts and stops in between sessions. My book started with these early writings and took off from there.