John Barnard was born and raised in Long Beach, California. He got serious about art in the second grade. In high school an art teacher, Ruth Burdick, persuaded him to enroll in art classes. She saw to it that young Barnard went to museums, attended classical theatre productions, and was exposed to the works of master painters from Giotto to Van Gogh.
Mr. Barnard studied at Chouinard Art Institute (1942) in Los Angeles, served in World War II in the Pacific, and then chose to go to college at the University of Georgia because of its fine art department. There he was quickly invited to attend the graduate art classes of Lamar Dodd who became a lasting influence on Mr. Barnard.
Upon graduation, Mr. Barnard moved to Mexico and later to Venezuela where. in addition to painting, he worked in the electrical industry. Though he rose to top management he always felt he worked only to support his painting. Finally, after 25 years, Mr. Barnard’s wife, Barbara, persuaded him to quit. In 1973, they moved to Atascadero. In the beauty of California’s Central Coast, Barnard became a prolific painter. Though his subject matter is chiefly local scenery, he gives his imagination free reign to conjure up cityscapes and market scenes pulled from other times and places in his life. He works mainly in watercolor but also in acrylic, casein and water soluble oils. Mr. Barnard’s work is characterized by its energy and a boundless variety in style and approach. He finds in his world limitless inspiration to express himself differently everyday, and feels his work is evolving toward greater freedom of line and stronger color.
John Barnard’s work has been juried into many exhibitions, is held in numerous institutional and private collections, and appears in several books on the art of watercolor.
Donated to the Permanent Collection by the artist.