The medium of pastel and creating her pastels of West Cork was a stepping stone to oil painting for Barbara. After decades of drawing and cutting lino for printmaking, the leap to oil painting took courage and time.

By using pastels to try different colour combinations and layering effects, Barbara discovered the potential of pastels for creating strong images. The surface that has to be used is quite specialised and expensive. Barbara experimented with using liquid grounds to produce larger format surfaces. She discovered that this worked especially well with Conte crayon in simple black on white.

Pastels of West Cork
"Arderawinny” Medium: Pastel On Board Size: 40cm x 40cm

Arderawinny lends itself for lyrical line and descriptive shadows. There is a contrast between the two dominant pillars and the rounded, uneven stones next to them. As they are leaning there is an unsettling tension which is balanced by the sunlit stone on the right. The capstone seems to be sliding backwards which exposes its sub-surface and can provide a dark background for the pointed stones. This portal tomb in the town-land of Arderawinny is located on a small level area of grassland near the town of Schull. These ancient locations continue to inspire me.

Pastels of West Cork
"Hare and Moon” Medium: Pastel On Board Size: 47cm x 54cm

This is the first pastel drawing I have done which includes an animal. It is influenced by my interest in mythology and symbolism. My garden is visited often by Irish hares, as was my farm in New Mexico by their cousins the Jack rabbit. To me they signify trickery, swiftness, humour and vulnerability. The Moon connects to nature with its cycles and phases, and represents the mystery of the night.


Browse a selection below of my other pastels of West Cork inspired by the ancient heritage done over the last year or so ...