Barbara Tapp,
Barbara Tapp, "Pink House Stands Alone," 2019, watercolor, 10 x 14 in., Available from artist, Plein air

The following is part of a series featuring a leader in the art community who will be joining us on the faculty of Watercolor Live, a virtual art conference taking place January 24-26, 2024.

“Over the years, I have spent time exploring the Berkeley flatlands, painting the ever-changing urban landscape,” says Barbara Tapp. “After a long break from plein air, I ventured out again recently, looking for a subject that would speak to my soul.

“Once part of Berkeley’s proud Orchid Nurseries, the Pink House stands isolated but dignified, surrounded by empty lots. So far, the owners have won the battle to preserve the Victorian home in its current position; a sign in the upstairs window warns people (not so politely) to leave her alone — even as the threat of development laps at her cyclone fence.

Sketching a scene en plein air
Barbara Tapp sketches the scene in preparation for painting.

“I had always wanted to paint the Pink House, and now was her moment — and mine. As an observer of life and a plein air painter, it’s my mission to look for scenes like this one. On this day, however, the Pink House chose me. A symbol of resilience, the building provided the perfect metaphor for how I was feeling on my first day out painting in so long. The time of day, the light, the presence of a modern-day muscle truck, all aligned at the right time for me to paint this portrait.”



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