Creativity Found: finding creativity later in life

Tereza Barnard – from psychology and interior design to painting realist portraits with oils

October 21, 2020 Tereza Barnard Episode 1
Creativity Found: finding creativity later in life
Tereza Barnard – from psychology and interior design to painting realist portraits with oils
Creativity Found listener support
Become a supporter of the show!
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers
Tereza Barnard had a discouraging review of her art as a youngster, and went on to study and pursue a career in psychology. But something didn’t quite sit right for her.
Find out how Tereza changed her circumstances and now earns money and accolade as a realist and abstract painter whose work features in Tom Croft’s book Portraits for NHS Heroes.

Buy Portraits for NHS Heroes here

CreativityFound.co.uk
Instagram: @creativityfoundpodcast
Facebook: @creativityfoundpodcast

Music: Day Trips by Ketsa https://ketsa.uk/under Creative Commons License
https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ketsa/Raising_Frequecy/Day_Trips

Artworks: Emily Portnoi emilyportnoi.co.uk

Other podcasts cited: Suggested Donation

 

Find Christmas-themed creativity this festive season at creativityfound.co.uk and creativityfound.co.uk/gifting.

Support the show

Support the show here
Subscribe to the Creativity Found mailing list here
Join the Creativity Found Collective here

Speaker 1:

Music and he was very dismissive and he basically said I have no talent and I should not pursue art at all. I guess these people that have you know like some sort of a rigid view of what your creativity should look like, they do sometimes make the distinctions. And then I picked up a book and it was a book about how you basically find your true calling and it was about from the first page. I started reading and I was like painting, it's always been painting, I just never knew that I could.

Speaker 2:

Music. Hi, I'm Claire, found at a open stage arts, drama and singing classes for adults. Lots of the adults who come to our classes and online events are looking for a creativity that has been put on the back burner during their sensible grown up years. I have found this to be true among other creatives, too, so I've decided to find out more about the painters, photographers, writers, printmakers, actors, crafters, teachers and more who have found or re-found their creativity later in life Music. This time I'm talking to Theresa Barnard from her canal side home in Boxford. I started by asking Theresa about her artistic style Music.

Speaker 1:

I do representational art, which I think is like a fancy name for painting what you see Essentially, so, yeah, that's what I do.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, it's very realistic, isn't it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. So I guess, yeah, I'm a realist painter, although I do, I guess, do bits of abstract within my artworks and I'm experimenting with that more, but it's not. You know, I'm never probably going to do just abstract. So, yeah, figurative realism is what the discipline I'm in is called.

Speaker 2:

Music, theresa told me about an unfortunate judgment that was made on her art when she was younger.

Speaker 1:

I think I was just a little bit unlucky, but, from what I hear, a lot of artists actually had a similar experience. So what happened is that my parents are in a completely different field. I think I discussed that with you in the past. They're both medical doctors and they don't know anything about art. It's just not their thing, and I've always shown an interest in art. There's not something that, like, they understood, although they occasionally supported it. It's not something that they had any understanding of. So they were trying to gain a bit more understanding and they were trying, I guess, to help. And they heard of some guy that used to run I don't know, maybe he still does some sort of a school in Czech Republic and it was some sort of an art school. And they decided to show him my portfolio and he was very dismissive and he basically said I have no talent and I should not pursue art at all. And so I got told by my parents you know, yeah, it sounds like it's a really nice hobby, but, like you know, get yourself a proper job, basically one day and I guess that kind of shaped me because I was like, okay, I guess if there was some sort of special talent that I would know by now. So I guess, yeah, you know, I need to get myself a decent job in something I somewhat like. Recently I've actually, on Instagram, I follow this artist that, whose work I really like, kata Marimoto. He tried to get into some art college and he was influenced by particular animation style, showed his portfolio and he didn't get in and he was told like basically to not pursue what he's.

Speaker 2:

yeah, yeah, yeah, oh, that's so sad isn't it?

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, it's like, I guess these people that have, you know, like some sort of a rigid view of what your creativity should look like, they do sometimes make the decisions. I think this guy was actually a director of the set art school.

Speaker 2:

Teresa studied psychology and, soon after her studies, began working as an interior designer. I asked how this came about.

Speaker 1:

It's just like a real twist of events, I guess. So I finished my masters in a developmental psychology and back then I have no idea why that was, but UCL took their sweet time sending the degree certificates, which I think maybe if I was in England at the time then maybe it would have been fine if I was applying for jobs here and I said, look, I've just finished UCL but I don't have the actual degree certificate. But I returned back to Czech Republic then and they required that paper. So I couldn't start anything on the psychology front till I get that paper. And so I had a little bit of money saved and randomly I stumbled across a business card of a new hotel opening and it was supposed to be some sort of like a new concept, like a kind of arty hotel set hostel, and it just sounded quite interesting and I basically messaged the person on the business card, who now turned out to be my friend, and we clicked and she talked to me about the concept, which is this new hotel with artworks in every room, and then I met the director of this whole concept and we also clicked. So I think it was just like basically a bunch of personalities thinking that we could work together, and they employed me on something that I've never done before and I swear I will never do again, and that is to become a fater. They called it marketing, media media marketing manager or something like that, and they were like well, you're arty, but you have your background in psychology, so you know you might be good at that kind of stuff, and it was basically looking after Facebook. I hate Facebook, so I should have not come for that, but it was basically a foot in the door there and while I was there, I remember mentioning to the director saying I've always fancied in theorists, it's just my little passion, yeah. And he's like, why don't you design a couple of rooms and we'll see how you get on? And so I did, yeah, and they actually became a success and they brought them some money. So he's like, why don't you design a couple more? And why don't you like? They had some issues with the designers that they had before and it was around a time when everything kind of vintage and retro was coming back into fashion and it was really popular in UK and not yet in Czech. So I think what it was is that Czech artists and designers didn't have an eye for it. Yet Right Now everyone does Like, you know, it's just the classic hipster look, yeah, but because I had it in the eye from having lived in London and they didn't, oh, kind of, that's how I, that's how I got into it, yeah, so I still did a bit of psychology on the side. I worked. I started then working for a clinical psychologist and I did like one day a week working with her, and then I did the hostel stuff and you know, basically freelancing the rest of the time, and I remember just not particularly liking Czech Republic. I just kind of felt like a foreigner in my own country because I previously lived eight years in England and I think it was really formative eight years because I moved here when I was 19. And I remember I lived in Oxford for two years during those eight years living in England and I loved it more than anywhere. And so I remember basically wanting to take a summer job here and seeing how I feel about Oxford, if it's still, if I still like it over Prague and over any other place. Yeah, and I came to Oxford and I got this summer job working for one of these schools that teach English Okay, there's an activity leader and I love Dr Jess as much and I was like I think I really want to move here. And I met my husband that summer who just happened to be travelling through here. He's Canadian, so it was just like a chance meeting and then we kept in touch and we decided to go travelling together to see if we can work or not. And then after that, because I had some deals still working for the hostel and a couple of other interior jobs that I needed to finish, we moved back to Czech Republic. So I was back in Czech Republic for a little bit and then I got pregnant and we decided to go to Canada because I didn't think I could support us with the interiors. So we went to Canada and stayed there for a couple of years and then I was still dreaming about Oxford. So in the end we're like, shall we try Oxford? And we did.

Speaker 2:

So what was it that finally made you begin painting in the way that you do now?

Speaker 1:

As in the style or what made me just kind of approach it.

Speaker 2:

What made you come back to?

Speaker 1:

doing some art. So I've never really stopped doing art, although there were times I did less of it because of circumstances or I would change medium. So I've always been into oil painting, like when I was a teenager I did. I have like a number of oil paintings all along canvas, but then, because we were moving around I suppose, I switched from oil painting to watercolours. So I did do that. But it was always a hobby. It was always something that I just kind of pulled out when I felt like the room is quiet and there's nothing else to do and I can do my hobby. But what made me pursue it as a job was actually my husband. He originally worked in the oil field, in the oil construction in Canada and he was good at it but he never really liked it that much. He was like it's a bit, you know, I like it, I'm good at it, but I don't love it. And he always liked jewellery and we went through kind of a couple of years of him finding his way to jewellery and the family supporting him in that, to him actually pursuing him and signing up for a really good course and then getting a job at a really famous London jewellery and making a living out of it quite successfully. So, and he's never turned back and he seems super happy and the change from him doing a so-so job to actually doing something that he loved was tremendous to witness and very inspiring. I knew with the interiors that I like it but I don't love it. And with psychology, I've always liked it and I still like it, just like I still like interiors, but I don't love that much either of them, and not as much as painting. And then I picked up a book and it was a book about how you basically find your true calling, and it was about from the first page. I started reading and I was like well, painting it's always been painting. I just never knew that I could. And then I looked at my husband and I was like well, he never, he never thought that he could do jewellery. He just thought that's always going to be a hobby. And here we go so and he's like no, I think you should try it. I think you know. He's like I think if you were meant to be a psychologist, you would have been one already. And you kind of like haven't, yeah, so he's like go for it, so that's yeah, that's so uplifting and inspiring.

Speaker 2:

That's brilliant.

Speaker 1:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Tell me more about your preferred mediums and how you work. How do you paint?

Speaker 1:

So my preferred one is still oils. I've swapped canvases for aluminium boards because I work with texture within the paint and it sits on the aluminium board a bit better, so but it's always been oil. Yeah, that's my love affair lifelong. Yeah, the thing about oils is, like you, I'm now getting the equipment for it, but you can't transport it that easily and there's like a clean up that's associated with it. It's just a bit painful, you know. Yeah, like the set up takes a while, the clean up takes a while, so you have to have more time for it than just pulling out watercolours and then just, you know, or pencils. So that's where the other techniques kind of come into play. So oils, I think I just kind of started getting into recently and I've been enjoying that. It essentially started as a necessity because of travelling. I wanted to go and see my parents and I have a lot of colours here and they're quite expensive and we already have, you know, suitcase full of stuff when we're travelling with two kids. So I'm like I don't think, you know, I don't want to buy an extra set of colours for my parents' house because that costs a fortune. I think I will do eventually, but like right now, like you know, one tube is like 20, 40 quid. So yeah, kind of for to. You know, buy thousands of paints for a different location. So it's like I'm just going to pack my pencils and I've recently started exploring this technique of basically building form with pencils and it's using dark charcoal pencils and white charcoal pencils over each other and it just kind of it just kind of builds a little bit of a texture and, you know, makes the drawing look 3D, and so that's something that I've been exploring. But yeah, my number one thing would still be oil painting, but I am more than willing to do some charcoal stuff on the side you were running person to person meetups.

Speaker 2:

before lockdown yeah. And you've been running online tutorials more recently. Is that true?

Speaker 1:

Yes, that is true. I used to do a meetup which wasn't paid. Initially. It was just a bunch of people each working on their own thing. If they needed advice from me, I was happy to give it. Usually it was people that wanted to work on their own stuff. Yeah, but it was really nice because I met a couple of good friends through that. But, yeah, through lockdown we just kind of cancelled that and we just kind of meet privately and I started. Well, I've seen my mentor doing a lot of online lessons and they gave me an idea and I felt like, finally, I've started understanding my technique enough to teach it Brilliant, because it's quite a complicated technique and I have a couple of students signed up and it is very much, I guess, like the meetups that I had, except they're on Zoom. It's the same people and we work on projects together. So we would set up a project. For example, now we're working on a full head portrait and yeah, we have like I demonstrate live and they ask questions. I tell them why I use, like, what colours I'm using, why I'm using that. So, for example, I work with texture and I explain how, basically, putting texture in light areas will create a bit of a 3D look when you look at the painting from a distance. Yeah, the kind of stuff.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's brilliant.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I wanted to hear more about Theresa's involvement in the Tom Croft book Portraits for NHS Heroes.

Speaker 1:

I follow Tom on Instagram. He's local and he's a very helpful artist and I'm an emerging artist and he's always been very helpful whenever I had any questions about how, basically how our business works. He's always is always given valuable advice and I've seen, when he first posted, the feeling that I think a lot of us in art community kind of had when COVID first came about. It was a weird feeling because, let's face it, art is a bit of a luxury.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know it makes you feel like, oh, here you know, there are people basically fighting for their lives and there are people fighting for them. Yes, and here I am just going to sit in my easel and paint. Yeah, Makes it. Yeah, I think the feeling that a lot of us had was that it makes it a little bit vain.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And and he, he was the one that was like yeah, that's basically how I feel. So how I'm going to work against that feeling is I'm going to actually offer a free portrait to an NHS person and you know, if there are any other artists that want to do that, like message me, basically comment underneath. And I was the one of the first ones to comment there and I was like I think this is an excellent idea, like 100%, do it. He was personally actually allocating people on that first comment. And that's before, I think he even had the hashtag and whatnot, and then he, like it, just completely took over and then he did the hashtag and then other people could basically join in without him having to allocate anymore. Okay, but yeah, I think, because we know each other. We're a small community, like us artists, and especially representational art and portrait art. I think there's not that many of us here, so I think we, you know, a lot of us know each other. Yeah, so I think I just posted my artwork and he repos everyone's artwork. Like I don't think he can do now everyone. Yeah so many now, but he repos it artworks of other artists and and then he randomly contacted me and said, yeah, do you want to be in the book? And it's like 100% yes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So, who did you?

Speaker 1:

paint. I painted a girl called Charlotte Cooper and she works as a neonatal nurse in Manchester, okay, and I still have her on Instagram and she seems like a really lovely girl, so I'm really glad that I got teamed up with her yeah. It was a nice experience. Yeah, we had to do it based on photos, but I instructed her how I want the photos to be taken, like where I want the light to be hitting her face, that kind of stuff and she did really well and she gave me a nice, flattering picture and I I painted that and, yeah, that was it.

Speaker 2:

Lovely. That's brilliant, yeah. And what are the plans for the future?

Speaker 1:

near or far. So it's in the very beginning, but I'm talking about potentially doing an exhibition together with Philippa James, who's a photographer, so hopefully we'll do that. Yeah, I think we're going to approach one subject and I'm going to paint it, and she's going to photograph it, and we'll see. We'll see how that goes. And then I have some, a couple of other paintings that I have in my head. One of them I've already started prepping for. So I'm looking forward to that. But, yeah, I guess more just, I've got more paintings planned, but in terms of style, I guess I'm venturing out a little bit out of the realism and employing other things. Like, I think there seems to be a thing that a lot of artists just kind of want to forget 20th century that it all happened, yeah, and I get that. But now I'm kind of coming back to it and thinking like I really like the old style of painting and I think it's really important for us to basically know our profession, to know the trade, yeah, and be good tradesmen. But at the same time I kind of want to explore other things. You know, that happened in 20th century 19th century. And so, for example, right now I'm exploring how to put time into a painting, like how to represent time in a painting, how to slow down the viewer from viewing the painting in like one second, and like how to guide the paint, how to guide my viewers in terms of where I want them to move around the painting, how I want them to view it. So these kind of things Wow. So yeah, that's something I want to work on a little bit more Amazing. Just kind of at the beginning of that.

Speaker 2:

That's amazing. If people want to view your work and connect with you, where should they go?

Speaker 1:

To my website Teresa Barnardcom. It's Teresa with a Z. On Instagram. I'm on Instagram. I think that's the only social network I'm really active on. At times I do local exhibitions, I do international exhibitions, but I do tend to announce it usually on the Instagram page. I did do one physical exhibition this year. That was nice, but everything else seems to be alright and I guess that's how it's going to be for the foreseeable future.

Speaker 2:

Thank you very much, Teresa. Thank you Thanks so much for listening to Creativity Found. If your podcast app has the facility, please leave a rating and review to help other people find us. On Instagram and Facebook, follow Act Creativity Found podcast and on Pinterest, look for Act Creativity Found. And finally, don't forget to check out creativityfoundcouk, the website connecting adults who want to find a creative outlet with the artists and crafters who can help them tap into their creativity.

Tereza's art

Podcasts we love