Artist Profile

Barbara  McLain Profile Photo

Barbara McLain

Nicasio, CA

As an artist, my primary passion is the exploration of the human spirit in its journey toward truth. This passion has historically manifested in oil and watermedia painting emphasizing figurative expression and the often hidden and mystical side of life and death. After exploring meditative aspects of still life, the emotional undercurrents of landscape painting, and the liberation inherent in abstraction, I began to explore the figure in the context of abstraction. Working in acrylic on paper as well as oil on canvas, my newest work combines my love of the figure and its gesture with the freedom of abstracted brushwork.

These two modes of exploration, figure and abstraction, provide a fascinating contrast while moving toward the same goal, the inner truth of being human.

My life as a painter did not begin until I had entered midlife as a professor of nursing in a prestigious university. An inner voice, relentless in its call for me to leave the life I had created for the one I had abandoned many years earlier, moved me to New York and the Art Student's League. Returning to the Bay area after a few years, I focused on launching my life as an artist while finding a different way to practice nursing that could support my new life. This process led me to hospice nursing, which I fell in love with, as well as a schedule that allowed me to work consistently in my newfound studio space. Hospice led me to buddhism as I struggled to find a different way of being with people who were dying. At some point I realized that all the elements of my life were coming together in a very unique and miraculous way: my hospice nursing, my interest in the vulnerability of being human, my spiritual practice as a vajrayana buddhist, and my leanings toward figurative expression in my artwork.

My Artwork

Pivotal Moment

Barbara McLain

Perched in Abstraction

Barbara McLain

Reflections at Dusk

Barbara McLain

Contemplation

Barbara McLain

The Vulnerable Human: Man and Woman on Rock

Barbara McLain

The Vulnerable Human: Climbing Man

Barbara McLain

Cacophony

Barbara McLain

Untitled

Barbara McLain

Turquoise Dress

Barbara McLain

Over the Moon

Barbara McLain

The Red Dress

Barbara McLain

The Vulnerable Human: Seated Woman on Rock

Barbara McLain

The Vulnerable Human: Two Seated Men

Barbara McLain

The Vulnerable Human: Standing Woman

Barbara McLain

Purifications

Barbara McLain

The End of Summer

Barbara McLain

Remembrance

Barbara McLain

Perched

Barbara McLain

The Vulnerable Human: Crouching Man

Barbara McLain

The Vulnerable Human: Two Men and a Woman

Barbara McLain

The Vulnerable Human: Squatting Man

Barbara McLain

After the Rain

Barbara McLain