Throughout her career as a graphic designer and art director, Barbara has explored many forms of art including fabric, metal, photography, ceramics, sculpture, oil painting and watercolor. While she creates in all these mediums, the major focus of McConkey’s fine art is her digital painting. Over the past two decades, she developed and refined the techniques she uses today to create her abstract digital paintings. These large-scale, abstract works are reminiscent of richly layered watercolors. Barbara’s digital artwork can be output in high definition onto a variety of substrates including natural fabrics, watercolor papers and canvas.
Barbara’s artwork blurs the lines between the classical perception of painting and the virtual world of digital imaging. Her paintings involve radically refashioning her own art and images by adding textures, shapes, and color. When she begins, she’s often exploring – searching for a “seed” of an idea that will form the basis of the composition. From there, her process is more like traditional painting, but she uses light for color and a computer mouse as her brush.
For years, Barbara has been intrigued by the concept of collaborative art and the unique dynamic that develops with input from two or more sources. She finds that a similar synergy takes place with the process she uses now. The computer allows her to take her work to unexpected places that she might not go to on her own. Her work follows an open-ended course. “Each painting takes shape as it’s filtered through my experiences as a woman, a mother, and an artist,” Barbara explains. “I never quite know where the path will lead or when it will end. In a way, I’m like a child on a journey constantly asking myself, ‘are we there yet?’”
Barbara’s fine art has been viewed in solo shows, juried exhibitions, galleries, and private collections. Her paintings are available as signed, limited-edition Gicleé prints on archival watercolor paper and canvas. She also sells unique handmade jewelry, mixed-media art and handcrafts in her online shop, Wasabi Rose, at etsy.com.