Barbara Dahlstedt
Fine Artist and Teacher

About Me

My Background

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As a young girl growing up in Seattle, I found that drawing was my salvation from boredom on many rainy days.  I practiced drawing everything around me including the models from my mother’s “Ladies Home Journal” magazine to the outrageous caricatures from my brother’s “Mad Magazine”.  I found that I was infatuated with drawing; faces in particular.


I pursued my love for art at Arizona State University, earning a BFA, specializing in graphic design.  I worked in the advertising field and was a freelance illustrator for 10 years before I went back to school to earn my teaching certificate and Master’s Degree in Education, specializing in curriculum and instruction.  Although commercial art provided a paycheck, it did not fulfill my passion for drawing and painting.


As I began my teaching career at Apollo High School in Glendale in 1992, my love for art took off in a way I had never expected.  I found my gift through teaching.  I began earning awards and accolades for my students’ success.  I decided after my children were all grown up and on their own, it was time to take my own advice and start entering contests with my artwork. To my delight, I found immediate success.  Now I find my passion growing stronger than ever as I embrace the exciting journey of inspiring others as I discover my own artistic voice.  If there is one thing I have learned, it is that there is always more to learn about art, and that’s the journey.

My Medium

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As a high school art teacher, it was important to master many different media.  My techniques and strategies borrow from all of my media experiences.

  

My favorite medium today is colored pencil.  The actual pigment is just like paint, but the binder and applicator allows me to create the detail that I love.  This versatile medium can be applied to a variety of different surfaces which I find fascinating to explore!


Colored pencil has broken the glass ceiling in the fine art world.  I am an ambassador of this amazing medium and enjoy explaining my process to the public.


The Colored Pencil Society of America has been of tremendous benefit to this medium.  Through education and community, they have raised the awareness, quality, and artistic support for colored pencil artists all over the world. 

My Inspiration

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I have always been a person who observes people, flowers, animals and my surroundings.  I find beauty wherever there is light and shadow. 


 I use my own photo references for most of my work.   I always try to carry a camera on me so that I can take advantage of capturing a moment.


When I was teaching high school classes, my family and students were often my inspiration.  Their beauty and energy was a reminder of what the joy of living is all about.


Lately, I have been fascinated by the characters at the Arizona Renaissance Festival.  The performers wear costumes that offer the texture and detail that is so interesting and very challenging to draw.



My Blog

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