Barbara James' works are stunning static images, the reflections having special attention drawn to them as houses, lighthouses, factories and shops are reflected in sharp quality on the waterfront. The sky is made up of multiple shades of blue going from deep azure to subtle sky blue, often taking up more than two thirds of the painting. Her imagery comes together to create stunningly mysterious and tranquil pieces. There is an elegant simplicity of style to Barbara’s work. A recent trip to Venice has expanded her repertoire of emotive and beautiful scenes. The lighthouse, that guiding light and symbol of hope and strength, has become a key part of her iconography. 

Barbara was born in the United Kingdom in the 1960s. She grew up in Hamble, where her love of the sea began. Although her very earliest memories recall her love of the bright colours of poster paint and her anticipation of what she could achieve with them, as a young child she found art extremely difficult and did not really consider a career in the arts world until she became involved in set and costume design whilst completing her degree in Music, Dance and Drama. Her tutor picked up on a small series of sketches, which she had prepared for the costumes for a production of Hamlet and his enthusiasm gave Barbara James the courage to begin to experiment with colours, textiles and artistic ideas.

On leaving university, Barbara James made her career in media, particularly in television, where she has made programmes for most of her professional life. However, looking for an extra dimension, she decided to return to oil painting at the end of the 1990s and, within six months, she had become a finalist in a national competition run by Artist & Illustrators magazine. Illness then required her to take some time off work, which allowed her to concentrate more fully on her love of painting, and she began to sell and exhibit her originals through local galleries. W H Smith picked up one of her paintings for a British Artists card range and sold over 20,000 copies of the card in the first year. Now an extremely successful professional artist, Barbara James declares that her artist life has been ""quite a journey since infant school but I am finally beginning to get the pictures out of my head and onto the canvas"".

“I've always been drawn to certain visual scenes where mood, light, colour and subject come together to create a unique yet fleetingly familiar moment in time.  It could be a few frames from a film, a photograph, a painting or real life - whatever form it takes, the scene has the power to arouse an extraordinarily powerful feeling in me. It's as if one is returning somewhere, to something, always known about but forgotten or never quite seen before in this way, until now. I started painting because I wanted to try and capture this feeling again and again, on canvas. 

The first nineteen years of my life were spent on the south coast where the sea must have seeped into my soul because it now spills out onto all my pictures. And with this latest collection I've tried to expand my palette, blending and experimenting to discover new subtleties and depth of colour.”