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About Barbara Peirson

My background is in the theatre. I trained as an actor and have spent many years touring with theatre companies. I was born in Newcastle and am now based in the Essex coastal town of Wivenhoe, where the sea and land merge in mud flats, marshland and flooded fields..


Sometimes I work as an actor, sometimes as a theatre director but always as a painter. Painting threads through everything; it's a continuum. I paint every day, it's the first thing I do when I wake in the morning and I usually carry on through to the end of the day interspersing it with the activities of daily life.  When work takes me away from home I have paints with me and scavenge pieces of cardboard to paint on. I work mainly in acrylics and the process is of layer upon layer of adjustment. My studio is at home next to the kitchen so it's easy to load the dishwasher, chop some vegetables or hang the washing out whilst waiting for a layer of paint to dry.

Most mornings I go out along the estuary where I live, to  watch dawn light mirrored in the water and wet mud;  the ebb and flow of the tide;  migrating birds swooping in and out; small fishing vessels leaving and returning; mists descending and dispersing.  People arrive and leave, sometimes alone, sometimes in company.  Back in the studio I aim to recreate the feeling and atmosphere of the landscape, the vastness of it. Then I wait for figures to appear in the painting, seemingly of their own accord, prompted by memory, imagination or old photographs. I try to capture the transience and stillness of the present moment. 

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