New exhibit explores a year in a Delaware artist’s life, one drawing at a time [video + pics]

In 2015 artist Barbara Warden decided to get back to her love of drawing, by doing a drawing every day for an entire year.

Artist Barbara Warden loved to draw, but life- as it sometimes does- got in the way and she stepped away from drawing. Last year Warden decided that the only way to get back into drawing was by challenging herself to do a drawing a day for an entire year.

“Whether I felt like drawing, or I was tired, or sick, whether I was angry or whatever, I would draw”, she said. She was determined to keep going, and some days she did more than one drawing, sometimes three or four.

“It turned out when they did the inventory it was 481 drawings which even surprised me.”

Warden’s new exhibit at the Biggs Museum in Dover is called ‘365 Elements in Time’. “The elements are really based on a lot of experience I had living out west in Montana”, she said.

After spending years hiking in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana, the elements she came in contact with inspired her drawings. “There is stone and there is ice, rain, lots of wind, restless ground.”

Those elements form the backbone of the experience for the viewer to the exhibit at the Biggs. From pen and ink, charcoal, paint and everything in between Warden created an abstract view of nature’s wonders.

The one theme that runs through all the work is impermanence. “Smoke will dissipate, bones will crumble, stones erode, rain will dry, ice will melt. It seems permanent, but it’s not.”

Could you be disciplined enough to sit and do a drawing a day, or anything for that matter everyday for an entire year? How did Warden keep up the momentum? “When you draw one right after the other, whatever comes out you really do build up an excitement and a momentum for yourself and that helps keep you going,” she said.

And keep going she did, and the drawings took her on a journey. “It really took me to such a different place cause I learned a lot about myself.”

She also learned a lot about the materials she was using as well as what it was she was trying to say with the work, not only to herself, but to those that view the exhibit.

“I wanted them to see a year through my eyes.” She wanted the viewer to share in her experiences in the mountains, and the things that influenced the drawings.

“I think the experiences will resonate with people,” she said. Warden hopes the viewer will have echoes in their own memories, that can relate to her experience. “I think my narrative, is a narrative that people will relate to and take away from this show.”

Warden loves to draw; she loves to share in her work. She wants to know what you think. “Whether they like it or hate it, win, lose, or draw. I want to hear what it is they have to say and how they respond.”

Warden says she often reads in art magazines the argument “Is painting dead?” She wonders why nobody ever asks if drawing is dead, but she already has the answer.

“Because it never is, it is immediate, it is rigorous, it is spontaneous, it is everything you are as a person”. 


You can see the exhibit “365 Elements In Time” at the Biggs Museum in Dover now through July 24th.

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