ArtId Art Blog
THE LIFE OF STAFF An Interview with Peter Barnett
This is the first in a series of interviews with Minds Island staff members, intended to allow members to make their acquaintance.
MI: You come to Minds Island with a background in art history, but also as a professional artist. How did this come about?
Peter: From this first I was a painter, and this led me into Art History. At Amherst College my honors work was a painted study of the development of oil technique since the Renaissance. I took my first position at Ohio State because art history was located in the School of Art___only to find that the art historians were trying desperately to be moved into the School of Humanities!
MI: But now you are no longer teaching art history?
Peter: True, except on Minds Island! I was never primarily a scholar, always trying to combine history and practice in my teaching. My last position at Earlham College was an ideal combination, but didn__™t last. After that, I left teaching while continuing my painting.
MI: Does your art history background influence your own work as an artist?
Peter: I__™m sure it does, though I don__™t think in terms of style when I paint. I love the work of Constable and the 19th century naturalists, but __" like them __" my focus is on nature, on being sensitive to the qualities of light and color in a scene or a face. For me everything is there in front of my eyes; it is only a question of being able to see it, and select what interests me.
MI: How did you come to be a part of Minds Island?
Peter: Heidi and I have been fellow artists at the Indian Orchard Mills for many years, painting together in the field and enjoying each other__™s work. I watched the Minds Island idea grow from its first emergence, and was delighted to be a part of it when it all came together.