Barstow’s is a small family owned business and we are committed to supporting other local farmers, local crafters, and local artists. Our walls are reserved for the art of local painters, sketchers, and photographers – giving us a beautiful and unique perspective on the area that we live and love. Visit us to enjoy lunch, soak in the rural views, and enjoy the local art of your creative neighbors!
Are you interested in becoming our Featured Artist? Contact us!
Our current Featured Artist is Nancy B. Baker
December 16 - March 17
Nancy Baker grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her BFA from Washington University School of Fine Arts in 1965 and, since then, she has been working in many different kinds of media, in one form or another. A resident of Greenfield for 43 years, Baker began working with a local potter and did so for about 8 years, at which point she grew tired of production pottery and decided to begin creating one of a kind pieces and began collaborating with another local potter, Bob Watrous, to create large mixed media pieces. They had shows and thus began her career as a mixed media artist.
Baker spent many years working in the human services industry, serving as an executive director of a child development center in Brattleboro, VT. She also started the Personal Care Assistant program at Franklin County Home Care. It was also at this time that she received her Masters in Human Service Administration from Antioch College.
Although she spent a number of years working in human services, Baker remained steadfast in her love of creating art, both as a personal mission as well as for the community. While in between jobs in 1990, she joined with a group of artists who were doing a cultural exchange with artists and community members in the Ukraine. They welcomed a group of Ukrainians to Greenfield to paint a community minded mural. Due to scheduling complications, Nancy became the lead coordinator and worked with about 100 volunteers to create the beautiful mural, overlooking Veterans Memorial Mall, which stands as an homage to Franklin County and all of its rich history. It was updated in August and Nancy was the artist/designer for all the changes that were made.
It was also around this time (1990) that Nancy began taking classes to augment her artistic prowess. She took classes on silk painting and began creating beautiful works of art on scarves, ties, and other types of silk.
She also took a class on trompe l’oeil, which is an artistic technique that utilizes realistic imagery to create an optical illusion of an image existing in three dimensions. For example, a scene painted on a one dimensional wall that is made to look as if you could walk right into it, due to its elaborate three dimensional illusion. She loved this technique and spent years mastering it.
While she was learning all of these new techniques, Baker also became a member of the Shelburne Arts Cooperative, located in Shelburne Falls, MA. She worked in many different types of media, including one of her favorite-collage. Using hand marbled paper, crafted by another member of the Coop, and other handmade papers, she created-and continues to create-delicate and precise images using bits and pieces of paper. Baker says that she finds an object inside of the paper, whether it be a bird or a giraffe. “It gets to be a part of the picture.” Baker says.
After she and her husband retired, they became ardent travelers, touring the country during the winters and staying in RV parks all along the way. Always thinking like an artist, Nancy would obtain jobs painting murals in the parks in exchange for a free stay and a bit of spending money for their travels. She currently has murals in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Franklin County and Brazil.
In addition to traveling around the country, they became avid birdwatchers, joining the Hampshire Bird Club in Amherst. During one of their trips in Africa in October 2016, Nancy fell in love with the many species of birds and other types of wildlife that they encountered while on that continent and documented over 460 species of birds, as well as about 45 mammals. “Everywhere I looked,” Baker said, “I saw a painting. I decided that I had to do it. I was inspired.” She had an exhibit of these paintings at the Greenfield Gallery in October, 2017.
This exhibit is inspired by area birds. The annual Northampton Christmas Bird Count takes place December 17th and the area she covers is right here. The group she works with counting birds meets here at Barstow’s to warm up and have lunch. “It seems like the perfect place for this show”.
Baker responded, when asked how she views her process of creating art, “I see my art as a journey that pushes me in new ways of seeing and creating and hope that I never stop finding new expression for my work.”