Julie Druker | Jul 17, 2014
This year, invited by fellow artist Carla Miedema, landscape artist Barbara Mendham joined the Cloyne Studio Tour and opened her studio to tour goers for the first time. From July 11 – 13, Mendham, who paints from her home studio at 168 Sheldrake Road just north of Cloyne, had a large display of her work set up in a tent beside her home.
Mendham has been painting in acrylics on and off for 30 years but raising her two children left her little time to paint on a regular basis. Her children are long grown and she is now a grandmother of four, so she has been able to paint regularly for over a decade since she retired from her work as a travel agent. Years ago in Windsor, Ontario, Mendham studied painting for a semester at college and currently takes weekly private classes. Her work focuses primarily on the landscape that surrounds her home and she says that winter scenes are some her favorite themes to paint since they bring her what she describes as “a sense of quiet and calm.” She also enjoys painting buildings and has done numerous private commissions of cottages, which she said is a popular request since people have “such an emotional attachment to their cottages. I don't know what it is but people will often want a painting of their cottage and will hang it there. When it comes time to leave they will often take the painting home with them and then bring it back and hang it up when they return.”
Mendham prefers to paint her landscapes from photos, often from her own but sometimes from pictures or photos from magazines that inspire her. One work of an old mill was done from a picture she found in a magazine. She says that still lives are of no interest to her. “I have never felt the urge to paint flowers or a bowl of fruit or other still life material. I think the fact that I like looking at landscape paintings myself has a lot to do with why they are what I most chose most to focus on.”
Mendham’s medium of choice is acrylics. She has tried watercolors but finds them too unforgiving. “In the same vein I don't have the patience to paint in oils since you have to wait for every layer to dry before you can continue.” She adds, “There is an old joke that goes, ‘With acrylics, you can really hide all of your mistakes’”
Asked what the most challenging part of her work is she said “Getting beyond that point where you are not liking what you are painting and just knowing that you have to keep on going until you get the painting that you like.” Asked what she most enjoys she replied, “Most everything really about painting is fun. I find it very relaxing.”
Barb's husband Derek who is a hobby carpenter makes the frames for Barb's work often using cedar, pine or old barn board. “The pictures Barb paints lend themselves very nicely to wooden frames rather than to newer ones,” Derek said, which I would tend to agree with.
Mendham's works range in price from $100-$250 and she sells cards as well. She welcomes commissions and those wishing to visit her home studio can call her at 613-336-9518 to make an appointment. For those who missed the Cloyne Studio Tour, Barb will be showing her work at the upcoming Friends of Bon Echo Art Exhibition & Sale from July 25 - 27 and then again at the Cloyne Art Showcase in August.