Barbara Noonan

Barbara’s pastel paintings capture wide open Pacific Northwest spaces. Her exuberant personality manifests in the fresh, bold strokes of her work, brightening up any space.


Finish this sentence: On Saturday mornings, you can usually find me… What’s a Saturday? Every day is the same when you are a visually stimulated full time artist. We are fortunate to look out at Lake Washington so I see the horizon for shapes and light and then the sky for clouds.

Do you think of a particular piece in your body of work as representing a turning point in your career? Annually I select a small number of paintings that represent shifts in my art. I keep these as a reminder of where I am and where I want to go.

When does inspiration most often strike you? In nature, in wide open spaces around Seattle. In long light situations, typically late evening with raking shadows.

Have you ever considered creating art under a pseudonym? Absolutely. I don’t want to be labelled as only painting one subject, one material, or using only one technique.

What are the first steps you take when you start a new piece? I start with several sketches in various formats: portrait, landscape, square. Next I do a Notan, a black and white graphic version for design elements. If it’s going to be a large piece, I create large studies in color. Finally I take pencil to paper and begin the foundation of the piece.

How do you know when a piece is finished? Intuition. I rely on foundations and fundamentals. I don’t want to overwork a piece and lose the energy, confidence, and freshness of strong bold strokes.