Jo Barry

Jo Barry

For the first few years of my working life I lived and taught in Central London while at the same time trying to develop my own work.  It was a very exciting time and I loved the buzz of living in a big city but I also loved the countryside which was my main inspiration.  So I spent a lot of time travelling out into the Southern Counties.
In 1994 we left London for Hampshire and I came to live in the New Forest.  I don't think I will ever move again.

Jo Barry
Morning flight, Watercolour

In London I dreamed of having a garden large enough to have an oak tree.  Here I have in my care a number of ancient oaks, a beech tree and a willow tree. These shelter a wide range of wild life, including roe deer and their fawns and to which we have added geese, chickens, a couple of hundred free flying doves and six dogs.  And just outside my garden is the New Forest, a truly magical part of the world.

Jo Barry
Portrait of a dog, Etching

I started working using just the simple pencil.  It is wonderful to have so little technique to come between me and the growing drawing.  But I also do etchings and occasionally water colours.
My method of working is to do little sketches and to write myself little notes.  When an idea is beginning to grow as a drawing it can just be allowed to grow across the page.  But an etching has the limitation of the size of the plate so a more accurate sketch of the composition has to be made before work starts.

Jo Barry
Standing water, Etching

And this work can take weeks or even months.  As soon as a mark is made it starts a three way conversation between the idea, the work in progress and me.  It is a slow process and I will have many pieces of work on the go at any time, all of them at different stages.  I don't think I have ever finished anything, I just reach a point where I have to let go.
I am often asked if I have to wait long to be inspired.  I never have to wait, there is always something to do and living here I am surrounded by more inspiration than I have time to use.