I am a watercolorist with a strong sense of color, color theory and saturation of pigments. I layer several colors of transparent washes in different hues to give a depth and strength to the work. I use techniques such as lifting, salting, and rag rolling to achieve the different effects on my papers. I have a palette of 13 colors that helps develop a theme in my paintings. I add splashes of 14 K Liquid Gold Leaf to the finished product to give a special touch that is most eye-catching at evening and in candlelight.

I often outline my pencil sketches with sepia, Prussian blue or indigo. I drag a clear water brush across the line to soften it and begin to define shading and shadows. I brush in gambouge highlights and then begin to wash over these effects with my palette colors. I then work color on color, saturating the pigments to give the deepest and most intense color. My styles vary depending on subject matter. I am very expressionistic with florals, very representative with stills, whimsical with the “long neck ladies” and almost story-book with the landscapes. I am influenced by all manner of artists from Impressionists to Modigliani to German Expressionists to Pre-Raphaelites. My most recent study has been of Kandinsky, Schiele, and Klimt.

When I discovered the technology allowing me to paint on canvas, I was captivated. The process of learning a new substrate has been exhilarating. I am devoted to the effects of watercolor on canvas. And to my delight, so have been my most longtime and faithful patrons.

As to the creativity expressed in the paintings you see, I suggest that only the Creator is creative; that is, only He can bring forth something from nothing. It is therefore my opinion that I am, as Tennyson explains, “a part of all that I have met.” It seems that we as artists are simply taking what is already created and rearranging the elements to come up with a line, a color, a theme that is unique to our natures and personalities. The style of my painting is unusual in watercolor circles. It is one developed over the last 20 years of painting in earnest, changing and stretching, allowing who I am to dictate the outcome. So it is very true to me that when people buy my art, they buy a little of me.

The expressions you observe are tell-tale snippets of my temperament: delight in the earth’s abundant glories, peace with the life process, and excitement over what is yet to come. There is not a lot of angst in my life and I hope that comes through in my paintings. My most coveted response is when someone comes into my display and says, “This stuff makes me happy!”


Tom Barnes Fine Art LLC, 85 Poplar Street, Guyton, GA 31312     757.477.2599