Barb Nechiporenko’s interest in art began at a young age. “My mother took some art classes in college and when I was a little girl she would get out the portfolio of her drawings,” said Barb. “She had some crayons and I wanted to get my hands on them so badly. That is my first memory of art supplies and drawings. It fascinated me from the beginning. My older sisters were pretty artistic as well, but none of us really had the opportunity to take art classes. It was kind of an itch that didn’t get scratched.”
Nechiporenko was working as a teacher and went back to school to get her commercial art degree in her 30s. She then worked as a commercial artist for several years, took evening art classes at BSC and studied with anyone she could find. “It has been a journey, studying with different artists, taking workshops, reading books, trying to learn all I could.” she said. “ I got into it more and more, and when I quit my job, I had time to really pursue it. Sheila Rieman was a real inspiration for me. I studied with her whenever I could. She even let me come out to her studio and we sat together and painted. Things that she said to me still stay in my mind.”
Her home is filled with art created by some of the instructors she has learned from. “When I go to the workshops they offer their demonstration pieces for sale, at a reduced price, so I usually nab a piece. It is nice to have a piece to remember that teacher by because they all have their own style.”
She is drawn to the brilliant colors in pastels, and that is her medium of choice. She also likes to paint rural scenes, explaining: “I grew up on a farm, and spent time walking down prairie roads. I have done a whole series of prairie roads, with the sun coming across. I like to go out at the ‘magic hour’, when the sun is setting. I am always looking at the way the light is hitting. One morning I went out to get the paper and the sun was hitting the houses up the road just perfect, so I had to run back in and get my camera. I did paint that, which was fun because that meant something to me.”
Nechiporenko usually works from photos. “We travel quite a bit, so I am always taking photos,” she said. “It is also good to work from the real object, to go outside and work plein air, which in North Dakota can be kind of a challenge. I will go outdoors, do a small painting to gather information about the colors and the light, then come back into the studio and do a larger version of it.
Painting is a little more than a hobby for her, but she does not making a living at it. She has had a couple shows at Bismarck Arts and Galleries and enters the Fall and Member Art Shows there. She also enters the annual show out at Pekin, ND, the Badlands Art Association Show in Dickinson and the Bowdon, ND show since that is right next to where her hometown is. “I try to keep my art out there,” she said. “When you produce a lot you want to try and sell so you can have room to make more.”
She has taught some basic drawing classes and a beginning pastel class, getting some people really excited about pastels. She would like to continue educating others: “I have observed a lot of different artists working and I should be able to pass that along to other people. And, I want to promote pastel painting.”
Showing others how to see the light.
Contact Barb at firstname.lastname@example.org