Barbara Summers Edwards, born and raised in Southeastern Idaho, is a fifth generation native of the American West. Graduating from Utah State University in illustration and working as a freelance illustrator, Barbara evolved as a fine art oil and watercolor painter. Commonly portraying figurative imageries, her painterly, realistic paintings have received numerous awards (some are listed below) as they have been exhibited in international, national, regional and state juried, invitational, group and two person exhibits.
In 2018 Women Artists of the West awarded Barbara FIRST PLACE in their WAOW Online Spring Exhibit and she was also honored by American Women Artists with an AWARD OF MERIT in the AWA 2018 Spring Online Juried Show. Barbara appeared in the 2017 Jan/Feb issue of Art of the West Magazine Feature Article, “The Studio”. She also is published in the 2021 May issue of Southwest Art Magazine’s “Off the Easel: New Works” and the 2016 issue “Women In Art” Section. The Utah Arts Council as part of the State of Utah’s Permanent Collection purchased two of Barbara’s paintings. One of those, “Gotcha!”; hangs in the Governor’s Mansion in the State of Utah. Art of the West Magazine featured Barbara in the Article; “Let’s Just Paint”; 2013 July/August Issue.
Barbara was awarded BEST OF SHOW in the 2022 Signature American Plains Artists having earlier been awarded the same honor in two previous juried Exhibits. She was the Featured Artist of the 2016 Utah State Fair. Barbara also had the honor of being juried several times into the prestigious
International Arts for the Parks Top 100 Exhibit was awarded the YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK PURCHASE AWARD and also the ARTS FOR THE PARKS WILDLIFE AWARD OF MERIT. Earlier in the same exhibit, U.S. Art Magazine selected her painting for its AWARD OF EXCELLENCE. Barbara’s painting, “Birth of a Nation” received a JUROR”S CHOICE AWARD at the National Paint the Parks Show & Competition.
Some of Barbara’s other exhibits and awards include: Oil Painters of America National and Regional Exhibits- National and Regional AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE; Utah Watercolor Society – AWARD OF EXCELLENCE and Intermountain Society of Artists – FIRST PLACE PAINTING AWARD.
Barbara’s award winning painting, “Cool Waters” was published in the Wildlife Art Magazine article,
“America the Beautiful: Glimpses of the National Parks”. Her painting “When I Was a Child” was published in the North Light Book, The Best of Portrait Painting.
The Oil Painters of America Board of Directors in 2011 awarded Signature Status to Barbara for her “remarkable talent”. Barbara is also a Signature Member of American Women Artists (AWA), American Plains Artists (APA) and Alliance of Covenant Artists (ACA); an Associate Member with Distinction of Women Artists of the West (WAOW), and Associate Member of National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society (NOAPS).
Barbara is represented by galleries from Texas to her current home state of Utah.
“My subject matter, color and style are a very personal, intuitive part of who I am since I discovered art at the age of twelve. I enjoy working with figurative imagery, although more and more, I am examining landscape and often combine the two. I love observing people, especially children as I wish to see the world anew through their eyes. I am most interested in small everyday moments often missed or seemingly unimportant compared to the social and headline grabbing events of the world.
In a very painterly and vigorous approach, I brush shapes of broken color defining the form and composition that I have in mind. I work from photographs I have taken on one of many research trips or hire models. I build the surface with color and textural subtleties in contrast to the strong light and dark patterns I am fond of using.
Although an admirer of impressionism, I do not consider myself a true impressionist. I enjoy working with the impressions of light and color but also want to narrate a story or idea to capture a moment in life. My intention is for those who view my work to not only see the color, value, composition and all of the other requirements of a great painting but to also share a definite feeling or memory of the timeless human drama represented. My Mission Statement is this: ‘If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy; I seek after those things.’
Someone once asked me how I made my paintings appear so powerful and yet at the same time feel so gentle. I’m not sure how to verbally answer the question, but I consider the question a great compliment.” ~Barbara Summers Edwards
1970 – 1974 BFA in Illustration – Utah State University
1974 Illustrator for Bailey & Montague Advertising Agency, Salt Lake City, UT
1975 – 1980 Freelance Illustrator
1980 – Current Fine Art Painter