Welcome to the site of author and illustrator Barbara Johansen Newman

Ten Things I Can Tell You About Myself

Barbara Johansen Newman

 I've tried to recap my artistic career into ten simple statements. When I put up my first web site several years back, I really told a long story intended to speak to aspiring artists of all ages, young an old. I thought that sharing my own journey would inspire others to enjoy theirs.  I recently discovered some emails thanking me for sharing that long winded story, so I decided to make it available for anyone with some time on their hands. If you want the complete version of what is below, click HERE. But if you are as pressed for time as I am, then here is the abbreviated version.

1.  I’ve been an artist all my life. I cannot remember a time when I was not drawing things and making things. It started when I was still in my crib.  My    wonderful artist mother used to give me crayons and encourage me to draw on the walls. No Kidding. This is 100% true. 

  2.  My four grandparents were a very big part of my life. I lived with one set and spent weekends with the other. We rode a lot of city buses together to go  downtown, or to go to antique stores.  I use the images of  1950s and 1960s New Jersey in my art to this day. I still feel like a Jersey Girl.

   3.  Because I was often very sick with asthma,  I watched a lot of television. I mean  A LOT.  My life and art are still affected by the gazillion old movies, Little Rascal      films,    and cartoons that I enjoyed for hours and hours of gleeful abandon, bundled up on the couch, watching and drawing.

4.  In 1962, my family moved from New Jersey to Stony Point, NY. The air was cleaner, so my asthma went away.   I lost my New Jersey accent, and (without even knowing it) I replaced it with a thick New York accent. I am STILL trying to get rid of my New York accent. Don’t ask me to “take the dog for a walk to get coffee.”  I  can’t say that without sounding like I grew up in the Bronx.

  5.  In the seventh grade in Haverstraw, New York, when I was twelve years old, I met my future husband.  He was always teasing me and he was very annoying. Guess what. We fell in love anyway. We  married when we were twenty-one and we are still married. He is my best friend, biggest fan and my toughest critic. He is the reason that I am able to do what I do and he has been cheering me on for more than 35 years.  

   6.  In 1972, I studied puppetry at the  Bil Baird Puppet Theater in New York City, and so, while my husband and I were  still in college, we became puppeteers and we went on to perform for four years with our troupe, MOONBERRY PUPPETS.  Because  of this I also began making dolls and puppets for sale and I was soon exhibiting at the ACC Craft Fair in Rhinebeck, New York, at    100 American Craftsmen in Lockport, New York and  in galleries around the country and in Canada.   

  7.  When we moved to Massachusetts I just wanted to draw and paint again. I worked on my portfolio and began getting  illustration jobs in 1982.  I have been illustrating ever since. I ‘ve had the pleasure of creating art for many magazines and newspapers from all  over the country. Working on those jobs really taught me about illustration.

8.  Now I write and illustrate children’s books and I create textile designs.  Art is my passion. I spend hours every day drawing, painting, writing, or  thinking up  new ideas for stories and fabrics. On any given day you can find me in the studio in my home, or in my studio at the Gorse Mills, where I am able to work on very large paintings.

 9.  I live outside of Boston with my husband and my three wonderful and wild sons. When I am not  painting and writing, I drive my sons to and fro, paint, decorate my house and studio, collect all sorts of things I  love but don’t need (I have a serious eBay habit), or count the frogs in my garden.

 10. Last but not least, I have a great friend who never leaves my side all day, every day--my dog  Bitty. I try to draw her into my books whenever I can. See if you can find her  in my  artwork.

Thanks for stopping by!



All content copyright 2009-2018 Barbara Johansen Newman
The artwork, illustrations, and copy contained throughout this web site may not be copied or otherwise reproduced without the express written permission of Barbara Johansen Newman.
Website design by Eric Dubois

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