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    Barbara Szkutnik


    A few years ago, Barbara Szkutnik retired from a long career as an international airline pilot. She now makes her home near Vancouver, Washington and is inspired by the lush colors of the Pacific Northwest. Art making has been a lifelong interest, but took a back seat to her career for many years. 

    Her background as a pilot often leads her to create abstracted aerial landscapes in her work, providing a pilot’s view of the earth and the shapes and patters seen while aloft. Cloud variations, winding rivers and other geological formations from memory continually appear in her work. She often combines her preferred medium of pastel with Sumi ink, liking both for the expressive range of mark making they allow, from sensitive, calligraphic ones to larger shapes. 
    Artist's Statement:
    For over thirty years I worked as a professional pilot, the last twelve flying international routes. That view from high above the earth allowed long periods watching shapes, lines and colors appear and disappear, dissolving into layers of clouds. The intersection of ocean and coastline are views impressed deeply within me as with the recent work, “In Passing.” My latest works have begun to include more structural objects as well, manifested as recalled cityscapes and bridges.
    I want to capture an essence and become more succinct, not delineate things—haiku, not novels. A move into abstraction several years ago allowed a new freedom of expression. This new direction required a wider range of materials, so my use of pastel became layered and interwoven with texture, ink, wet and dry pigment, charcoal and graphite. With this new approach I found that naming a thing beginning to resolve on the easel in front of me would cause a loss of momentum; an idea could dissolve, so is better left to the final stages of a painting. I work best in a wordless space. Gestural strokes often initiate my paintings. They are my handwriting.
    2017 Coming in April, included in North Light Books “Art Journey Abstract Paintings: A Celebration of Contemporary Art”
    Northwest Pastel Society, Signature Member Status awarded 2002
    Pastel Society of the West Coast
    Recent and Selected Awards and Honors:
    2016 Third Place by member vote, NPS Signature Show coming November 2016
    2015 Fifth Place Award, Abstract/Non-Objective Category, Pastel Journal Magazine's "Pastel 100"
    2014: Northwest Pastel Society's International Open Juried Exhibit, Tacoma, WA
    President's Award (2nd Place) Northwest Pastel Society's Member's Exhibit, Richland, WA
    2013 Southwest Art Magazine "Winner's Circle" May 2013 issue
    Third Place Award, Abstract/Non-Objective Category, Pastel Journal Magazine's "Pastel 100"
    2012 First Place Award, Abstract/Non-objective Category, Pastel Journal Magazine's "Pastel 100" Honorable Mention, Northwest Pastel Society Member's Exhibit, Hood River, OR
    People's Choice, Northwest Pastel Society Member's Exhibit, Hood River, OR
    Northwest Pastel Society's International Open Juried Exhibit, Tacoma, WA
    2004-2016 Aurora Gallery, Vancouver WA November Feature Artist for 12 years
    2013 Invitational Abstract Group Show Columbia Arts Center, Hood River, OR
    2011-2012 The Gorge White House, Group Show, Hood River, OR