Surrounded By Beauty

Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, posing with her husband, Tom Barnicott, in North Carolina.

Last weekend, Tom and I went on a road trip to somewhere we’ve never been before – Asheville, North Carolina, a small city nestled in the palm of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

My #1 impression of Asheville is that it’s a city that loves art and honors its resident artists. There is beauty everywhere you look… it seems as if there are galleries and artists on every street! And while the beauty created by the gifted artists of Asheville is amazing, the majestic gifts of nature surrounding the city and its incredible mountain setting are even more inspiring. If you ever have a chance to visit Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s the best of both worlds!

Image: Roses in the backyard of Linda Barnicott.

When we returned home, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the flowers in our own humble little yard had burst into bloom. We’re thrilled with how our personal little piece of nature is developing.

Last year we worked hard to clear the backyard, and we’re still working on the front yard. Of course, we planted many, many flowers. I like to think of my flowers as another manifestation of my art. The colors in my garden inspire me and touch my heart the same way the colors in my paintings do.

Image: Flowers blooming in the front yard of Linda Barnicott.

For me, bringing beauty into my life is as much a part of who I am as breathing. Making paintings that brings joy to others is my passion in life. As I continue to work on my summer painting projects, I’ll be thinking to myself, “Who will relate to this painting, and what is it about the painting that will speak to them?”

That’s my motivation as I work on my new art pieces. I hope things will slow down a bit this summer to give me more studio time. I have a lot of projects planned!

Here’s to enjoying a great holiday weekend and good times with family and friends.

It All Comes Together

Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, finishes her latest project.

Remember that big painting project I’ve been working on for the past couple years but haven’t been able to tell you about? (Hint: It’s the Forbes Hospital History Wall.)

Well, late last week, around midnight, I put the finishing touches on the very last section of the last panel. Then while everyone else in the house slept, I did the Happy Dance! I can’t actually share the completed paintings with you yet, as I’m not sure how the hospital wants to present them. But I don’t think they would mind if I shared one small piece of it – one of over a hundred miniature paintings in the piece…

And the one I’d most like to share with you is the one that features my husband. 

Image: An excerpt of Linda Barnicott's latest project for Forbes Hospital. Featuring an image that resembles Barnicott's husband, Tom, riding a bike.

As you know, Tom has a tendency to show up in my paintings; in a way it’s a sort of trademark for my work. Kind of like how Alfred Hitchcock put himself in a cameo in all of his movies! This painting is no exception. It was fun posing Tom and making sure he didn’t look silly or weird or out of place.

This partial was the final section that I worked on. It seemed an appropriate place to finish, with Tom doing his cameo in the miniature that completes the piece. It reminds me of how he supports me through my entire creative process, from preliminary photos to sketches to finished painting.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be dashing from one printer to another, making sure these five panels are as perfect as they can be. Keep in mind that I painted them normal painting size, but the printers will enlarge each panel to 4 x 8 feet!

I’ll update you when the day is announced for the big installation at Forbes Hospital. It won’t be long before you can walk out of the hospital cafeteria and see the history of Forbes Hospital and all it has meant to the local community, bigger than life.

This past weekend, Tom and I spent some time in Asheville, North Carolina (a place where we’ve never been before!), for a little R & R.  But now I’m back in the studio, forging ahead on my next project.

Mother’s Day Smiles

A black and white photo of Alyssa Stadelman (left) and Brittany Barnicott (right), daughters of Linda Barnicott, smiling for the camera.  Aria Stadelman, granddaughter of Linda Barnicott, laying on the floor with an Eat 'n Park smiley cookie bag. Abigail (left) and Autumn (right) Stadelman, granddaughters of Linda Barnicott, smile for their 9 month old photos.

Happy Mother’s Day!

I’m glad that we have an official holiday every year that reminds us to reflect on the women in our lives who have nurtured us. It’s not only a time to remember our own mothers and grandmothers, but also to consider our own roles as mothers to our sons and daughters and their children as well.

I speak from the heart when I say that, honestly, I don’t need a holiday to feel grateful. Every day I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be a mother to my two girls and grandma to my three grandchildren.

Brittany took the picture (above) of Aria snuggling with her Eat’n Park Smiley Cookie. When I saw it, the first thing I thought of was “Wow! Look at that huge smile on Aria’s face!” It’s a well-known fact in our family that Smiley Cookies are the reason Eat’n Park is Aria’s favorite restaurant.

Back in the mid 90s, one of the buyers for Eat’n Park had the idea to place my Pittsburgh-themed paintings in all their restaurants. Every time I created a new painting, I was asked to bring prints to their headquarters so they could be framed and placed in their restaurants all around the Pittsburgh area. It was a kick to walk into an Eat’n Park and see my work up there on the wall!

Times do change, and Eat ‘n Park has gone through a rebranding or two since then. Only a few of my paintings still hang on the walls in some locations, but it still makes me smile whenever I see one.

"Once Upon a Time in Storybook Forest" by Linda Barnicott

Another one of those places that I think about around Mother’s Day is Story Book Forest in Ligonier. So many memories of happy times there when the girls were growing up, visiting Mother Goose and the land of fairy tales. I can’t wait until we take Aria and the twins to Story Book Forest for the very first time this summer.

I’ve painted so many places around town where Mother’s Day memories are made, including Phipps Conservatory and Kennywood Park. What’s your favorite location to celebrate Mother’s Day?

Whatever you do this year to celebrate with your family and friends, don’t forget to eat a little, breathe a little, and have a ton of fun together.

Gus and YiaYia

"Ice Ball Treats with Gus and YaiYai" a painting by Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories.

Back when I was painting my Kennywood series, I would often see my friend Jim when I passed through the Group Sales office. For two years, every time I walked in, he never failed to look up from his desk and tell me the same thing every single time… that there was a Pittsburgh landmark that I had so far neglected to paint.

He was referring to Gus and YiaYia’s ice-ball and treats cart in West Park, a beloved North Side institution that has been delighting people for decades. And every time, I would say, “I will… someday.”

I suppose he realized that I needed a push and maybe bit of inspiration, because one day I received a very thick packet in the mail. Inside I found a ton of photos of Gus and YiaYia and that legendary ice-ball cart.

Thanks to Jim, I knew immediately that it was time to paint that piece! I bundled my young girls into the car and headed for the North Side. I was nervous about meeting Gus and asking if I could paint him, but it turns out my fears were groundless. He is truly an angel on Earth, one of the kindest, most authentic people I’ve ever met.

As a matter of fact, he wouldn’t let me leave until the girls and I had ice balls, and he had loaded us up with popcorn and peanuts. When we said goodbye, he looked at me and asked, “Can I have a hug?” Despite juggling an armload of treats, I smiled and said “Sure!”… and somehow we managed.

I’ll bet many of you have fond memories of when you first met Gus and Yia Yia or had your first ice ball in the park. It’s a North Side tradition! As always, if you have a favorite story about Gus and Yia Yia’s, I’m all ears.

Mother’s Day is close at hand, and Father’s Day is coming up soon, not to mention graduations and other events. I can’t think of a better way to bring celebrate warm summer memories than with a nostalgic “visit” to Gus and YiaYia’s ice-ball cart.

 

My Monet

"Oasis of Beauty at Phipps" by Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories

From the time I was just a new arrival in Pittsburgh as a young bride and now as a grandmother, one of my favorite places to visit around Easter and Mother’s Day has always been Phipps Conservatory.

Tom and I had many romantic dates there, and sometimes we would go with friends. Then later when our children came along we would bring them, too, and introduce them to the beauty of the flowers. There’s just something about flowers that makes your heart sing no matter what your age.

Many years ago, long before the remodel of the entrance, I used to dream of painting Phipps one day. At that time, my favorite spot was the side facing Schenley Park. There was a lovely pond near the side entrance, and it made a perfect composition with the beautiful 19th century building in the background. I took some photos, thinking “Someday I will paint this view.” Almost 15 years later, I finally did – and I called it, “The Oasis of Beauty at Phipps.”

At least that’s the official title – actually, with the Impressionist style of the painting (and especially the water lilies on the pond), I think of it as “My Monet.” I had a lot of fun painting it, and it’s always been one of my favorites. Because I love it so much, I’ve recreated the image in many forms…

“The Oasis of Beauty at Phipps” is available as a key chain, an ornament, coasters, mint trays, and sandwich trays, as well as the 8 x 10 print and the full-sized print itself. It’s the perfect painting for an unforgettable Mother’s Day gift!

Everything is available on my website except the 8 x 10 print, which you can order by email (linda@lindabarnicott.com) or just pick up the phone (1-888-748-8278).

Linda Barnicott poses with her family on Easter.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter. I loved celebrating the holiday with my little family. After we all attended church together, we drove over to Aria’s house, where there was an Easter basket full of little gifts waiting for her.

My granddaughter, (wearing a 1980s sweatshirt over her dress because Grandma just had to do it) walked through the door and in her loudest voice exclaimed, “Oh! Presents for me!” I’ll never forget the look on her face and how excited she was.

Aria Stadelman, Linda Barnicott's granddaughter, expresses her excitement at Easter.

Memories that are made with family are the ones that will last a lifetime. Let me know if I can help you make this Mother’s Day special with a gift of “The Oasis of Beauty at Phipps,” or any of my other art or gifts.

Little Things Make Memories

"Golden Memories of Kennywood's Kiddieland" by Linda Barnicott

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I’m glad that once a year we set aside a day to celebrate women who care for others… a special day when we remind them how much they’re loved and appreciated.

As a grandmother, I have another generation of little girls to cherish, and the love that flows between them and my daughter makes my heart smile. There’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing my little granddaughter Aria give her mom hugs and kisses – without even being asked!

Just this week, I spent some time at my daughter’s home, helping her with a few gardening chores (and hanging out with my girls, of course!). Working together to help make their home a nicer place is another thing that makes my heart smile.

As we pulled weeds and helped wake up the garden from its winter nap, we talked about our plans for Easter Sunday. We looked forward to going to church together and then later on celebrating with dinner at their house, including an Easter egg hunt for Aria. Again, more smiles!

"Meet Me Under Kaufmann's Clock, Too!" by Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories

Think about your favorite memories of your mother or your grandmother, or perhaps another woman who helped nurture you. Like maybe how you and your mom used to dress up for shopping trips downtown … or the fun you had on family outings to Kennywood, West View Park, or Storybook Forest… or maybe it was attending games together at Pitt Stadium, Three Rivers, or PNC Park (or even the local Little League field), eating hotdogs and cheering for your team.

"Let's Go Bucs at PNC Park" by Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories

If you have a favorite story about one of those special women in your life, I would love to hear it. As an artist and a friend, I’m inspired by listening to your memories and stories of love and family.

A gift of art whose subject is meaningful for both of you is a beautiful way to share the love of Mother’s Day. A painting is a treasure that will last a lifetime, and giving the gift of a remembrance of happy times can bring great joy to someone who means so much.

Meanwhile, get out there and enjoy the fine spring weather… maybe even dig in the dirt with your loved ones and make some new memories!

Tom’s Opening Day

Photo description: Tom Barnicott dressed in his Pittsburgh Pirates staff uniform.

This week was Opening Day for the Pittsburgh Pirates as well as the start of a new chapter for our little family. Tom put on his uniform for the first time on Monday and reported for his new job at PNC Park. His retirement didn’t last long!

Though the opener didn’t end the way we would have liked, Tom was in his glory! Of course, on his first day on the job, the game went into extra innings, so it was a very long day at PNC Park. But Tom didn’t mind one bit!

Thinking about him up in the Suite section talking to fans reminded me of when I painted, “Let’s Go Bucs at PNC Park.” When I painted Bill Mazeroski and The Great One, Roberto Clemente, I had a lot of help from the Pirates with gathering resources for the paintings. My dream, however, was to find the perfect view of the Park.

 

Tom and I went location scouting and decided that the top of the Renaissance Hotel would provide the ideal vantage point. We walked right up to the desk and told them about our idea. Not only were they most generous and helpful, but they even gave us the key to the Penthouse Suite! It was a gorgeous room with an amazing view, and we took tons of photos. It was a picture-perfect day!

(Fortunately there was no game that day, or PNC Park would have been full of people, and we would have been out of luck!)

The next Pirates game day found us parked in the Sixth Street Garage. We had a great spot overlooking the river and the Park, where I was able to take photos of the players on the field and some of the activity.  Dave Arrigo, the team photographer, also very graciously provided photos of the first Opening Day at PNC Park showing lots of activity both in the Park and on the river.

One of the parts of the painting that folks often ask about is how I painted the crowd. So how did I put all 38,362 people in the park as well as the players?

In my studio, I have all different shapes and sizes of soft pastels. Some are very soft, and some are very hard, including pastel pencils. To create the crowd in the painting, I grabbed as many of those pencils as in as many different colors as I could hold in my right hand. Then I simply picked up a color and made a few marks for each person (a little heavy, naturally, on the black-and-gold clothing).
Photo description: Tom Barnicott and Alyssa Stadelman, both in Pittsburgh Pirates gear, attend a game at PNC Park.

Tom has been a Pirates fan for as long as I’ve known him (and trust me, that’s a long time!). As it is for many other families, the home opener has always been a special time for Tom and our daughter Alyssa. So you might say that painting “Let’s Go Bucs at PNC Park” was a labor of love. And now that Tom’s living his lifelong dream of being a part of the Pirates organization, it’s even more significant to us.

Deck the Walls

This photo features some of Linda Barnicott's landscapes hung above a door.

As many of you know, moving into our new home has been quite a long and complicated project. Finally all the furniture and clothing and pots and pans are in the new space. But as an artist, a house doesn’t really feel like home to me as long as there are empty walls, and my pictures are sitting stacked up in a corner, hiding their inner beauty.

The thought of hanging all those paintings is very daunting – much more so than when we moved into any of our previous homes.

That’s because Tom and I have always lived in homes provided by the church, usually “midcentury” homes that were built in the 50s and 60s, and the style at that time was boxy with plenty of wall space. This house, on the other hand, is a beautiful pre-war (built in 1935) brick home with built-in bookcases, fireplaces, and stained glass windows. And speaking of windows, there are so many in this house that for the first time in our lives, we didn’t have enough wall space!

When we were first married, the lack of wall space didn’t matter so much because most of my work at that time was painting portraits. Those commissions went home with the customer, and we had little artwork of mine to hang. All we had on our walls back then were things we won from Kennywood (which we have lovingly kept all these years and still hang on our walls).

This photo features an old piece of art with the outline of a man and a woman. The text reads: "I'll be yours.. and you'll be mine... and forever I will love you."

But now it’s a different story… some might even say I’ve painted too much! Even counting all the originals I’ve sold over the years, there are more than enough paintings to hang and enough to occupy every spare inch of wall space.

So where to begin?

Well, remember this guy (my favorite model)?

This photo features Linda Barnicott's painting "All Aboard with Santa."

Lucky for us, he just happened to be passing through Pittsburgh and stopped by the house to lend me a hand. Of course, he’s really good with tools – after all, toy-making is his specialty. It was definitely the best (and earliest) Christmas gift ever.

With his help, Tom and I were able to hang each and every one of my paintings! When he was done, it felt just like Christmas all over again. Ever since then, as I walk around my home, I can’t help but smile. It’s amazing how much more it feels like home when surrounded by my art with everything in its place.

However, now I have a new problem… I’ve used every last bit of available space, so I guess now I’ll have to sell a few more originals before I can paint more. Can you help me out?

This photo features Aria Stadelman, Linda Barnicott's granddaughter, drawing while sitting on the floor. Some of her other drawings are taped to the wall behind her. This photo features Abigail Stadelman and Autumn Stadelman, Linda Barnicott's granddaughters.

Finally, here’s a little update on the GrandGirls. As you can see Aria has been watching Grandma and Grandpa, and she’s creating her own artworks to deck the walls!

That’s A Wrap!

The image shows Linda Barnicott and her friends and family after the conclusion of the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show.

Time really does fly when you’re having fun, and it’s hard to believe that we’ve come to the end of another year at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show.

We have a tradition where every year after the last piece of art goes into the truck, we take an annual photo. The smiles on our faces reflect a job well done, another year’s show successfully put to bed… not to mention how exhausted we all are after loading up my entire booth into that truck!

It also makes me smile when I think about how lucky I am to have so much support from family and friends who help me with this massive task year after year.

Thanks to every one of you who helped make my 25th Anniversary at the show a big success. I’m not just talking about numbers – I’m talking about friendships, something you can never put a price on. Each day was filled with smiles and conversations that will remain in my heart for a lifetime.

Some of my biggest sellers this year were my new giclée 8 x 10s. I now have prints in that size for more than 20 of my paintings and at a good price for a high-quality print. (At this time, the giclée 8 x 10s are not available on my website and can only be purchased in person at one of my shows or my studio.)

The image shows Linda Barnicott's paiting of Mazeroski's Magical Moment, a painting of Bill Mazeroski during the 1960 World Series.

Another best seller this year was “Mazeroski’s Magical Moment.” My favorite thing about this painting is listening to the stories of folks who were children at the time of the 1960 World Series, especially the sparkle in their eyes when they describe what that memory means to them.

So now that the show is over, Tom and I have shifted back into “Move-In Mode.” That’s right… it’s been going on since January, and we’re STILL not 100% moved in! However, we’re making progress. I spent this morning hanging as many paintings in our living room as I could by 11 a.m. You see, today was the first time that I had scheduled clients to come to my studio/home to pick up their orders. Fortunately, everyone seemed to understand that we’re still in the process of making this Brentwood house our new home.

Once in a while, it’s fun to have a change of pace, and last Saturday, I presented a program for a women’s group at Hawthorne Avenue U.P. Church in Crafton. It was a lovely day, a lovely church, and a delightful afternoon.

It was the second time this year that I was invited to speak about my art at a local church. If you know of a group that is looking for a program like this, please think of me! I really enjoy getting out and about, especially at this time of year when there aren’t many shows.

Just have them contact me at 1-888-PITT-ART (1-888-748-8278).

Suddenly Spring!

This photo features Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, smiling next to her booth at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show.

Can you believe Spring is here? It may not feel like it outside, but inside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, it sure looks that way!

Yes, it’s that time again… today is Opening Day of the 2019 Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show.

This year promises to be bigger and better than ever. In fact, the 2019 Farm to Table Conference is now a part of the Home and Garden Show, adding a whole new section – including live chickens!

I’ve spent the last few days getting the booth set-up for the show. Ready or not, the doors open at 10 a.m. this morning!

This photo features the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show booth of Linda Barnicott, Painter of Memories.

If you’ve been dreaming of Spring, I recommend a visit to the Home and Garden Show. It’s just the thing to cure your cabin fever.

The 38th Annual Pittsburgh Home and Garden show runs from Friday, March 1st to Sunday, March 10th, at the David L Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. You can find me at Booth 3146-8.

The photo features the logo for the 38th Annual Duquesne Light Co. Home & Garden Show.