Barbara Houston’s creative practice is based in Bonavista, Newfoundland.
Born in Saskatchewan Houston is influenced by Modernist Art on the Prairies and landscape painting as expression of people and place, community and belonging. Leaving the Prairies, she studied at Parson’s School of Design in New York City and holds a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Manitoba. Leading her award winning design firm based in Vancouver for twenty years, she gathered momentum, collecting skills and observations to create space and discover opportunity.
Houston’s full time creative practice in Newfoundland was the culmination of a cross country journey, arriving in Bonavista in 2019 establishing BarbaraHouston ArtStudio. Houston is in her studio everyday.
All work is available for purchase directly through the artist.
Under the Same Sky (2023) captures inland ponds and the skies above in a myriad
of paintings inspired by rural Newfoundland. Painted from observations and
memory, Barbara Houston’s work evokes place through carefully curated
materials in different mediums to display the environs of Newfoundland’s
Intention and suggestion comprise Houston’s unique language
communicating the importance of the land. Inland ponds, redolent of hunting
and gathering, foraging and berry picking, with abundant fresh water; vast
landscapes, blanketed by endless skies, remind us of our stewardship
obligations - place must be held conscious of the issues of the day, both local
As vocabulary is the basis of language, so materiality is fundamental to
Houston’s contemporary landscapes. Her materials, mediums, forms and
scale are the building blocks that express her ideas about community and
Houston’s techniques include the use of positive and negative space, the
absence of paint, painting in reverse and seaming materials to emphasize the
power of the horizon. “Painted colour” of each material is enhanced by
engaging the warp and weft of Belgian linen, the grain of wood panels and the
changing the ground colour in the canvas. Through form and scale Houston’s
work enhances these two and three dimensional expressions of place,
imbued with meaning found in the landscape of Newfoundland’s history,
Barbara Houston’s landscape paintings reflect a humanistic perspective
complemented by a refined and unwavering contemporary vision. Houston’s
creative work distills her formal education in design and architecture and is
highly contextual. Under the Same Sky connects her to her prairie roots, big
skies and distant horizons, much like those where she lives and works in her
new home and studio in Bonavista, Newfoundland.