Works by Barbara Roden
Original paintings and mixed media works by Barbara Roden


(posted on 24 May 2024)

Often it seems to me that after enjoying a day of good progress in the studio, the following day is a bust. Today was a bust.

Yesterday I made leaps and bounds of progress on a commissioned painting I've been working on for awhile, and reached a point of 99% completion; in a week or so I'll check for any final corrections or touches, then varnish it.

I had so looked forward to continuing my "roll" and to making great progress on another work-in-progress.  This canvas is somewhat dominated by a large gnarly arbutus tree and over the past week I've spent much more time working on the tree than on the rest of the canvas, in fact I never finished evaluating and correcting the rest of the composition. I know better ... This morning I lavished ALL my attention upon that twisty tree and was so enjoying working on it that after hours of happily painting away, I finished that tree down to the last detail. When I finally stepped back to admire my work I realized the overall composition of the painting was waaaaaaay off - UUGH! There's nothing worse than attempting to correct a composition halfway through a painting. The canvas had to be relegated to the back of the non-starters heap to be reviewed/salvaged/painted over at a later date.

Although my enthusiasm was now somewhat deflated, I still had a little oomph left over from yesterday so primed some blank canvases with black gesso. I'm ready for tomorrow's fresh start. Wish me luck and a dash of common sense.

"Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it." ~ Lucy Maud Montgomery

(posted on 24 Sep 2023)

One of the highlights of participating in the Delta Studio Stomp yesterday was watching three ten year-old boys pour over this 24 x 30" painting, their noses inches from the canvas as they discussed all its elements. Eventually one of the boys stepped back and told me I was a pretty good painter and he really liked the sea star and sharks. Made my day! 😅



Last winter was a tough one for me. After a difficult year, I was soooooo looking forward to a long-planned trip to Fiji and Australia with dear friends. Unfortunately, my husband and I had to cancel less than 24 hours before take-off. Just as we were zipping up our suitcases and carry-on bags, my cardiologist called at 7:00 pm and scared the bejesus out of me. Over the cold dreary months that followed, between medical appointments, I often sat looking out my kitchen window contemplating life, death, the future and the past. I stared out at the Salish Sea and the beautiful cove where we live and I told myself to count my blessings and focus on gratitude. Of course, there’s so much to be grateful for, and it helped to remind myself. However, what often buoyed my spirits and brought me a sense of peace was the sight of my neighbour’s small red rowboat. Darren’s father was a high school shop instructor and decades ago, for his retirement, his shop class students built and gifted him a sturdy little rowboat. Last summer Darren painted the well-used boat bright red and then stored it upside down on his dock for the winter and I noticed it every time I looked through my kitchen window. Through rain, sleet, snow, gloomy long winter days and sometimes gloomy thoughts, that rowboat glowed vibrant red; it seemed to me a small but mighty beacon in the darkness. Seeing it never failed to lift my spirits and make me smile. I am feeling and doing better now and am very grateful for that little red rowboat - I've included it in my new painting, Anchored and Tied. 24x24", acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas.



(posted on 16 Aug 2023)

OK, so don't laugh when I tell you Englebert Humperdinck was my saviour today.

The past few years have been tumultuous, to say the least. Just as the destabilizing and isolating effects of the infamous nasty virus were waning, along came non-stop high family drama filled with health concerns, vastly differing opinions, and overwhelming angst.  I've been racing through days, weeks and months of problem-solving, hurrying to appointments on unreliable ferries, on little sleep, on junk food, on the absence of the recuperative effects of time spent with dear friends. My infrequent respite came when I was able to steal away to my art studio for a few hours and fall into "the zone" of creativity. Unfortunately, a few months ago the macula of my right eye came apart and both my vision and my art practice were forever altered.

Vitrectomy surgery was followed by an interesting and challenging three days and nights of remaining face-down at all times. Over the following weeks the hole in my macula gradually closed and my vision improved, however, a scar remains and causes distortion in my central vision. I like to think I'm handling it pretty well. I'll take the distortion over the blind spot I first experienced. I'm grateful for the return of depth perception and my ability to read. I've returned to the studio and am painting proficiently once again. I don't even notice the distortion when I'm working close to the canvas, not until I step back and the smooth straight lines I painted appear to bend and shimmy. This unnerves me as I try to reconcile what I see with what I know I painted; it shakes my confidence. Of course, many people live full and happy lives with visual impairments far worse than mine, but this is new to me, so I'm allowing myself to grieve a little from time to time. On the hopeful front, I'm told my brain will get used to it and adapt until eventually I may not notice the distortion so much.

In the meantime, I have unsettling moments like I did this morning. I was totally focused on completing the first painting I've done start to finish, post-surgery. I lost track of time as I often do when I'm "in the zone", and I was feeling the surge of joy that comes with a sense of accomplishment. I completely forgot about my wonky eye until I stepped back to survey the completed work as a whole. I was so startled by what I saw that I actually gasped aloud. The dancing and wriggling lines I saw scrambled my brain. Self-pity started creeping; even a prickle signally the onset of tears. I literally gritted my teeth as I told myself to get a grip, that a little grief is OK, that the thing to focus on is gratitude for all I'm blessed with, not what is lost, dammit. And then, for reasons far outside my ken, I turned toward Alexa, the hockey puck-shaped robot emitting music in my studio, and told it to play Englebert Humperdinck, a voice I'm sure I hadn't heard in decades, and it did.

The sweet nostalgia of Englebert's schmoozy tones as he sang After the Lovin' brought a smile to my face. I closed my eyes and was transported back to my parents' shag rug adorned living room, mid-1970's, listening Mom's beloved Englebert, Tom Jones and Herb Alpert records on our RCA console stereo - a time when I didn't seem to have a worry in the world. I sang along and swayed to A Man Without Love and wonderfully nostalgic feelings continued to sweep over me. I felt comforted and oh so much better. With the lyrics of the next song, Quando, Quando, Quando, on both my lips and Englebert's, I chanced another glance at my painting: the image still danced.

But then, so did I.

Thank you Englebert Humperdinck.





(posted on 29 Jul 2011)

Celestial Messenger (front) Celestial Messenger

Celestial Messenger, front & back views.

At the BC Lions Society Eagles Gala, the successful bidder for Celestial Messenger was A&A Contract Customs Brokers:

The eagle is on display outside their offices near Surrey Pacific Highway Border Crossing - #101-120-176th Street, Surrey, BC

Video featuring Celestial Messenger, from Telus TV:

For the B.C. Lions Society Eagles in the City project.

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