August 9, 2018
Story by Dave Barnes
Great Bend watercolorist and Barton Community College Coordinator of Workforce Training Events Krystall Barnes is a featured artist through October 21 at the Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg. Her exhibition of original watercolor paintings is entitled “Emergence.”
Barnes grew up surrounded by the dramatic contrasts found in the “big sky” country of the American West. Vastness--cruel, overwhelming and sublime--can demand an intimate interior response. Her watercolor paintings, whether of Yellowstone nymphs or personal mythology, explore an interior response to life and nature.
Barnes developed her watercolor technique under the instruction of John Pollock, an art professor at Montana State University-Billings. She is a signature member of the Montana Watercolor Society and is rostered as a teaching artist with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Oklahoma Council on the Arts.
In addition to being a featured artist with Guild.com, she has been represented by galleries across the country. In 2006, she won the prestigious E.L. Rose Conservancy Outstanding Artist award and stipend. She is a workshop facilitator and uses her art as a platform to speak to the healing of victims of abuse.
“Every painting I complete is a result of my wrestling with the question: how do my origins – the people and places and events of my past – affect my life today, and can I come to some sort of peace with them? The answers to my questions have been slow in revealing themselves to me, and I know they may never do so,” Barnes said. “My paintings are really about emotional growth and overcoming obstacles from the past. They express my acceptance of the duality of life: positive coming from negative, beauty from ugliness.”