Barbara Stanton

Barbara Stanton, Livermore artist, is making progress on creating the Pleasanton Pioneer Founders Mural, funded by the Harrington Art Partnership & Pleasanton Leadership Class of 2013. Check it out on her Facebook page. She updates her progress regularly.

Valley artist, illustrator and instructor, Barbara Stanton, was selected to create a historical mural, Pioneer Founders, for Pleasanton’s downtown under the direction of the Harrington Art Partnership (Another H.A.P.P.Y.).

Stanton was born in Oakland, California. At age 7 she moved to Pleasanton attending Valley View and Pleasanton Elementary Schools, Harvest Park and Foothill. She went on to attend Chabot College (which is now Las Positas) and attended the Academy of Arts in San Francisco one summer. She currently lives in Livermore with her husband, William Maranville, who works at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She has two artistic boys, Russell, 30 and Clayton, 27.

There were several adults that Barbara says have influenced her work as an artist. Her memories of beginning to draw start as soon as she was able to hold a pencil. Her grandmother, in particular, encouraged Barbara to draw. At Harvest Park Middle School, Mr. Frankina, the art teacher, encouraged her to continue pursuing art. If she didn’t want to draw what he had assigned he told her to draw whatever she wanted. He told her if she continued to draw at home he would provide her extra credit. Barbara says that was all it took for her to draw even more. When Barbara went to her mother’s work place, she would draw the faces of the people she would see there. She ended up taking ten portraits back to show Mr. Frankina. He pointed out that if she compared the first portrait with the last one, she would see that she had improved greatly in her drawing skills. This realization had a tremendous impact on Barbara and she said, “You mean you can learn to draw? You don’t have to have talent?” Mr. Frankina pointed out that she was developing a skill, the skill of drawing.

In the 7th grade she seriously began to draw, going through a sketchbook a week. It was almost like she was obsessed. By her freshman year, Barbara, her friends and family, all thought she was a talented artist. Her art teacher, Mr. Friedman, understood teenagers and used reverse psychology on Barbara to help her stretch her skills. When she shared her work with him he would tell her that copy machines could do better. She was fired up to demonstrate to him that she was an excellent artist and continued to push herself to impress him. By her senior year she finally figured out that he wanted her to “create” out of her own mind making one-of-a-kind pieces. He would say, “This is your brain working.” He continued to push her to create rather than copy exactly what she saw when drawing. Years later, when Mr. Friedman retired, she was able to tell him how much of an influence he had on her development as an artist.

Barbara said she tried to learn to paint on her own when her parents gave her the first set of acrylic paints. She eventually signed up for lessons.

A year out of high school she decided it was time to go back to school, this time to focus on art. She ended up taking all the art classes offered at Chabot. The teacher who influenced her work in college was Thomas Corey. “He was fascinating,” she said. “He understood color theory and composition so well and helped me to understand these concepts and how they influenced my work.”

A friend of hers bought a dollhouse and vowed to furnish it. Barbara was interested in the furnishings and accompanied her friend to businesses that sold miniature furniture. Barbara was fascinated with the detail of these furnishings. She didn’t realize that dollhouse furniture was the “real” thing only smaller. She noticed there were no miniature paintings available for these dollhouses.

She was later invited to a dollhouse show, which she attended. She noticed there were a couple of artists with their miniature paintings and when she questioned them learned they were getting $200 or more for their miniatures. She began painting one piece each weekend, while she worked as a graphic artist. Barbara said, “It felt right and was natural for her.” After the dollhouse paintings, she started entering various Art Shows. She received her first award from a Canadian Show. She discovered other miniature shows and entered her miniature paintings in these shows around the world—Australia, Russia, England, Canada, Japan and Israel. She also has created two videos on “How to Paint Miniature Paintings,” which she sells around the world, too.

Currently Barbara Stanton specializes in oil paintings and portraits (miniature and full size), landscapes, and still lifes, all done in a very traditional, realist style. Miniature collectors are her biggest fans because she paints in the popular dollhouse scale 1/12 (one inch equals a foot).

Barbara is involved in the community of Livermore. Her work is displayed in the Livermore Art Association Gallery at the Carnegie. She has been a Board Member of this association. She also served as Director for the gallery for 5 years. About 15 years ago she began teaching a figure drawing workshop. She also teaches art classes for children age 8-Teens on Fridays, 3:30-5:00. These classes are offered at the Bothwell Arts Center, in Livermore.

She is an IGMA Fellow (International Guild of Miniature Artisans). She is available for demonstrations and workshops. She has taught twice at the annual IGMA Guild School in Castine, Maine (2001& 2003). Visit www.barbarastanton.com or email her atmicroangelo@earthlink.net.