Thursday, 27 November 2014

Cadogan Gallery 1993

It is twenty one years this week since Harriet's extremely successful own-show at the Cadogan gallery in London. This was held shortly after she left the Slade following the completion of her post-graduate studies.

Here is the invite/card, with one of her very early paintings of Tresco and a beautiful portrait of her friend Victoria Begbie.

(click pictures to enlarge)

Saturday, 26 July 2014


Details of Harriet's funeral on 31 July have been posted here.


Harriet's obituary, written by Professor Simon Olding, appears in today's Guardian (main section, p57).

The online version is here.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Harriet Barber, 1968 – 2014

Harriet Barber

3 June 1968 – 16 July 2014

Harriet died peacefully at home in Dorset, following a long and tenacious struggle with secondary breast cancer in her lungs and liver.

This blog, and her website, will be updated in the coming weeks and months.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Man With The World's Biggest Bite

I've always been a solitary painter, you could even say anti-social. If people are going to be around when I'm working I've always I tried to tuck myself out of the way, so that I don't attract attention.

Frankly if I'm working, I want to work.

There are however other people who share the seashore or the riverbank with me, who are equally focussed on what they themselves are doing, and we do tend to respectfully 'give each other the time of day.'

At Ringstead this group includes kite surfers and fossil hunters. They too have things they want to get on with, but we do all chat and share experiences.

Kevan, pictured above with his dogs, lives near the beach at Osmington. He recovered the Weymouth Bay Pliosaur – 'The World's Biggest Bite' (otherwise known as Kevanosaurus) – and we've been having the odd chat for years while I'm out painting. He calls me 'Osmington Girl.'

It's only relatively recently in my painting career that I've wanted to incorporate incidental figures into my compositions. They help to describe the landscape as they move across it, and give context. In addition to this I feel they capture the life of the place I'm depicting, as much as do the waves, sky and seagulls.

In the weeks after the recent storms it has been particularly busy with fossil hunters, and I saw Kevin and his friend in the bright blue jacket last time I was there. Kevin's friend gave me a handful of fossils to keep. I was grateful as I never manage to find any myself.

I've put some recent Ringstead work up on my website, all produced in February and March after the storms.

Monday, 3 February 2014


In the last couple of days I've continued working with my chalk pastels.

My subjects been included both a favourite shoreline at Ringstead, and a favourite life model Alison.

In the drawings above Alison is wearing a red slip. Red is a theme of hers as you can see in this gallery of previous work.

At Ringstead I was trying to capture the energy and movement of the sea and the changing sky.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Ringstead Robbed

I know Ringstead in Dorset very well indeed. I lived for a few months in a house right on the shore, and I've painted, drawn, walked and swum there more times than I can count.

Over the last couple of years I've had something of an unintentional break from drawing and painting there for a number of reasons. This week I returned with my chalk pastels and a drawing board.

I was shocked to see that the steep banks of pebbles and shingle have completely disappeared in the recent violent storms we've had. Ringstead is for the time being flat and sandy. The sea now races right up to the grassy margin very quickly in a way which I've never experienced before.

Yesterday I worked until it was dark (see final photo) and the sea crept up on me so quickly I had to wade back up the beach knee deep in water. My drawing got a little splashed as I carried it. This is a pity as the water can wash away the chalk marks, and hence diminish the vibrant colour.

The finished pieces are here.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


Last week I went to visit my framer Geraint Davies in Frome.

It's always a pleasure to spend time there, drinking strong coffee, choosing mouldings and finishes, and catching up. I couldn't resist the chance to snap a few shots of his workshop on my phone.

On the easel is one of my summer Stour paintings. I'm looking forward to collecting it on Saturday.