Berkey the Pig and Golf

Sketch of Berkey by Barbara Benda 2021

Watercolor Study of Berkey by Barbara Benda

Berkey the Pig by Barbara Benda








Summer Greetings! I am attending the Rural Art Exhibition reception tonight in Wahpeton this Thursday, August 12th. I have entered a pig and other paintings ( see below) to represent the rural theme. To prepare for this show, I visited the farm of my new friends Trish and Aaron and wandered around with my artist sister Beverly to explore subject matter. We brought our plein-air (open air) painting equipment to set up outdoors and paint studies of our ideas. There is always a process with art– if you want to do it the right way. Many artists splatter paint around and add a price tag, but that’s not my approach. If I am going to sell art, I like to put careful thought into what I do. I’m not against splashing paint around and, yes,  I do that for fun, but, often those pieces lack depth, composition, color scheme, and basic principles of art-the components that require advance thinking. It is much like strategizing how to score well on a hole in golf ( stay below the pin, take the wind into consideration, avoid bunkers and water, observe the slope of the green, etc.)  Golf and painting both require thoughtful attention, and results are important to me in both of these disciplines.

Above, you will see two studies and a final piece. I did the middle one first- my sweet pig was oinking and nodding his head at me asking for a treat and he would not keep his head still, so I walked around him and painted with my watercolor block in one hand and paintbrush and palette in the other. It took less than 5 minutes to capture his spirit. I came home, and did the value study in pencil to determine lights and darks, then I painted the final picture, accentuating the mud on his nose. These are good examples that demonstrate a peek into my process of creating a painting.

Below are my other paintings in the Rural Art Exhibit as well as Beverly Benda’s paintings that were  inspired by a chicken and a beautiful horse at Trish and Aaron’s farm. If you can join us at the reception from 5:00-7:00, I look forward to seeing you. If you cannot make it, please visit the exhibit as it will be open for viewing at the Red Door Art Gallery until October 1st, 2021. Go to for more information.


Promise of Rain by Barbara Benda ©2021

Montreal Farm 1882 by Barbara Benda ©2021

High-Heeled Lady by Beverly Benda ©2021


Archie by Beverly Benda ©2021


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Breaking News: I’ll be teaching my 5 Day Drawing and Watercolor Workshop in Fargo on June 28th!

Sylvan Lake Path by Barbara Benda. Watercolor, 22″x15″, 2020.

Great news!  I will be teaching my Beginning Drawing and Watercolor 5 day workshop at the end of the month! I just received word that masks are optional so I’m back to teaching!   I’m excited for this opportunity to communicate the essentials of watercolor to you.  This workshop appeals to ALL levels of learners. Please click on the link below to download a registration form:





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Birding 101: a new Art Series

I was recently invited by a real “birder” to join him on a little hike in south Fargo along the river to go “birding.”  I met A.G. at my Studio Crawl art event and learned he is beyond the basics of birding.  As a  “wannabe birder” for many years, I jumped at the chance.

I took my camera, binoculars, and headed out early in the morning with A.G.   Four hours later, I had photographed about 15 different species of birds that I don’t normally find at my bird feeder, such as the Swainson’s Thrush, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, American Redstarts, and Cedar Waxwings.  A. G. was a great teacher and gave me the Birding 101 basics.  His eyes and ears are evidence of his own artistic spirit.  Bonus: while on the hike, I met three more birders through A.G., resulting in more knowledge and potential resources for my artwork.

Personally, I think “virtual” learning is for the birds.  In order to truly connect, I must engage with people directly.

Two points I must make about in-person, not virtual, art events:  1.  I meet very interesting people who have resources that run deep, allowing me to learn so much from them. I had casually mentioned to AG that I wanted to go birding, and 6 months later, he remembered my interest and now I am on my way. My world opens up further because of people God places in my path.

2. I fall in love with God’s beauty in a new, fresh way, and suddenly am inspired toward a new series of  bird paintings. It’s that easy: people and nature combine to open up more artistic avenues.

If you are interested in seeing my new bird series, stay tuned.


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