Fife enjoyed drawing, painting and creating things since childhood, but her
interest in art was put aside for many years while her career took a very
different path as a high school science teacher.
earned a Master of Science degree at RPI in New York and a Doctorate in
Education at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. After a long career teaching
science and technology, she has found time in retirement to return to the joys
of creative artistic expression.
In 2001, Barbara and her husband moved from Michigan to Florida,
and Barbara joined the West Pasco Art Guild in New Port Richey, a wonderful art
group that met weekly and provided inspiration and encouragement as members
shared art theory, demonstrated watercolor techniques, and held group critiques.
Guild workshops with noted Florida artists
Ingrid Lederer, Elaine Hahn,
and Betty Welch FWS
also helped Barbara develop new artistic skills, and the many Art
Shows at the West Pasco Art Guild were an opportunity to exhibit her work. Many
forever-friendships were forged with artists at the Guild:
Jean Metzenthin, Marian Heinlein,
Patti Veon, Donna Lyle, Ann Clark, and many more... What a wonderful group of women!
In 2003 Barbara and her husband moved to Ocala where she enjoys
opportunities provided through the Appleton Museum of Art, the Ocala Art
Group, Marion Cultural Alliance, Florida Watercolor Society and the
Citrus Watercolor Society. Barbara continues to take workshops with masters
of the watercolor medium:
Jones, Pat Weaver, Paul George, Janet Rogers, Mort Solberg, Virginia
Chen, Lynn Ferris and Susanna Spann.
Barbara is also indebted to
Jackie Schindehette for her
instruction in oil painting at her studio in Ocala, and Barbara is
grateful to master calligrapher Ted Mayhall and his wife, renowned sumi-e artist Yolanda Mayhall
for their inspiration. Ted presented an "East Meets West" calligraphy
workshop at the Appleton Museum that reawakened Barbara's interest in
the art of fine writing. Ted and Yolanda introduced Barbara to the
Creative Calligraphers of Citrus Springs. In March 2016, Alison Clement
called the first organizational meeting for a local calligraphy group at
the Appleton Museum, and The Ocala Calligraphy Guild was founded. Although she occasionally works with acrylics, oils, mixed media, and
calligraphy, watercolor remains her favorite medium. Barbara is an avid
life-long student. Art books, magazines, on-line sources, and DVDs that
inspire and teach art are as indispensable to her as art supplies.
Barbara’s watercolor style is interpretive realism. Her penchant
for detail is no doubt a carryover from her scientific studies. Her subject
matter is diverse, but the beautiful and intriguing natural world still
captivates her imagination. Nature in many forms: flowers, birds, and animals,
especially her pets, are favorite subjects and models. Many of Barbara’s
paintings take inspiration from collections of photos she has taken at local
parks and events and global travels. Barbara values old things. She sometimes
includes historic homes and vintage vehicles and old toys in her paintings. Her
still life compositions often portray treasured family heirlooms, antique lace
and quilts, and delicate flowers from her garden that are arranged and painted
from life in her studio.
Special thanks go to her husband, Buck, who is the love of her life and first
"Collector". Buck offers encouragement and endless support for Barbara’s
endeavors. He is the first critic on every piece, and the one who says "Sign
it!" when Barbara tends to go on and on with a painting. Buck is Barbara’s
official framer who puts those final touches on each finished work.
Through her paintings, Barbara shares her personal view of the
world. You can find her work exhibited at many art shows and venues in the Ocala