Meet Instructor Barb Casey

Growing up in Stillwater, Minnesota, in a house full of art, Barb Casey always had strong communication skills and pursued writing in college and professionally. But she was always a ‘doodler’ and when friend invited her to attend a painting class, she found her passion.

What drives you to create? It’s part of who I am, art is my passion, it’s almost an addiction as it’s all I want to do! I have friends who are wonderful painters but they are fearful about putting their art out for others to see. You are putting yourself at risk when you make something public. In my professional life as a writer I’ve always had clients tearing down my writing or asking me to do something differently, so I’ve learned to accept the negative feedback when it comes. I probably also learned from my mother, who is a painter.

Are you creative in other parts of your life? Creativity is all about problem solving. Writing involves communicating something in a new or different way than has been said before, so I’m constantly problem solving in my professional life as well as my personal life.

Photo Submitted: Barb Casey

What is Plein Air Painting and why do you think it is a good fit with Marine Mills Folk School? ‘En plein air’ is the art of painting outdoors, which is very different experience than painting in a studio. The Marine Mills Folk School mission is to provide opportunities for people to find joy in creating with others, and the school emphasizes the natural environment. That is also plein air painting! I love being outside with my easel when the critters forget I am there, being part of the natural world. It is a different experience than walking through the woods, I think you become more aware of your surroundings and it really is magical.

What do you hope a participant takes away from your class? I hope they find community with all of us involved with the class. Painting is darn hard, it is helpful to be with others who are experiencing the same difficulties. I hope people taking the class will find support and shared knowledge. I want to help people address their fear and doubts about plein air painting. I will share some techniques and tips to give a participant the confidence to begin. I don’t follow one approach or technique rigidly, but rather I want to provide some approaches and skills to help someone get started, and help them think about what would make a good painting, depending upon the conditions.

Photo Credit: Jade Stephens on Unsplash

Who were role models for you as you developed your painting skills? I studied with Joe Paquet, he is my hero. I also admire Rosa Bonheur, who was considered the most successful woman painter of the 1800’s, and remains a role model for women painters.

Photo Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Horse Fair

What would friends say is your strongest characteristic? Boldness

Irrational Fear – heights
Favorite Breakfast – eggs and bacon
Place you want to visit – China
Recommended podcast – The Savvy Painter’s Podcast
Recommended book – Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting