Watercolors by Barbara Bell
I paint fleeting moments in nature that reveal an elemental force, a continuity of life that goes beyond the individual and his time. I depict glimpses of the primordial in water, plants and animals, instants of regeneration and renewal, balance and discord.
As a teacher and historian, I see my work as lessons learned and taught, an antidote to what Kate Braestrup, in her memoir Here If You Need Me, called “an estrangement from our ‘local universe’ that has become endemic in our time and place.”
For me, watercolor is the ideal medium with which to capture the fluidity and rhythms of the natural world. The patience and craftsmanship I learned as a lithographer combine with the spontaneity and flow of line allowed by the paint. I often use material collected in the woods or by the sea both as model and tool.