Digital painting

8" x 10" on paper framed in blonde wood to 12" x 15" 


This art was inspired by the poem: 




As an adolescent I would finger

the belongings my sister left

behind. Boxes brimmed to their

corrugated edges with photo albums.

110mm memories mounted on crusted

adhesive. Snapshots of Teddie

and Gary basking like beefsteak

on the flat rocks that line the Delaware

River. Their eyes weighted with weed.


15 years and 3,000 miles later,

I return to find my own photos

niched next to the crates of Christmas

ornaments. Forgotten like a bastard boy.

Their plastic pages protect memories

of dally days — Judy and Rose, eyes

and smirks stewed with Smirnoff, slump

on the couch, beer bottles high

in salute. Rose is not wearing underwear.

Her denimed crotch is damp.


In the family room, my parents,

like beacons, watch made-for-TV

movies and cooking shows. On the wall

hangs a photograph of me at 12 years old.

Plump cheeks and tired eyes.

Confused smile and simple stare.

Captured like the other

ghosts in the attic.


— © Robert P Langdon




I’m an adventurer, but now I enjoy mental exploration more than the physical sort.  I’ve given up on ever becoming a grownup. I still believe in fairy tales. I stare - out of plane windows, at bugs and sidewalks.  Can’t stop looking at people, on the streets, in restaurants where it annoys my companions who think I’m ignoring them (I’m still listening.) I usually have a sketchbook in my bag ... airports, bus stations, waiting rooms are never boring if I have paper and ballpoint.  I have  hundreds of old sketchbooks which transport me to places and times far better than any photograph could.  I have a colorful and often bizarre dream life and a painfully vivid imagination.  I’ve enjoyed and endured cheap travel in exotic places, and now I’m happy remembering Arabia, Africa, Afghanistan, Turkey, Penang...their textures show up in my work. I’m interested in more things than I’m not, those being sports and politics and things involving offices and people in suits. Brown and gray stuff.


I'm addicted to stories, real or made up.  As I kid I made up long tales in pictures, page after page, often on my Magic Slate where they existed for only a minute. I gave up wanting to be a veterinarian when I found out art and boys were more fun.  That was college.  Then grad school, the MFA where I realized I didn’t want to teach so I became, not surprisingly, a freelance illustrator--lots of drawing, other people’s stories. I’ve finally been set free to draw, paint, collage the stories that find me, out in the world or scrabbling around in my unconscious. I play with my dark side; we all have one, so we might as well enjoy it.


Drawing is my primary passion, but I love playing with stuff, was a champion at mud pies. Now I have paints and gels and clay and my iPad Pro as my toys. I can’t think of a good reason to limit my work to a particular medium or style when so many are calling my name.




Kansas native Loel Ann Barr received her MFA from Wichita State University. She traveled extensively and worked as a book designer and illustrator in New Zealand. She spent many years in the Washington DC area where she established a successful career as a freelance illustrator, working for national clients including The Washington Post, The Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic, Time Life Books, and numerous publishers and agencies. She was a staff artist at USA Today and taught illustration at the college level.


Loel moved to the Hudson Valley in 2004, where she discovered she is a descendent of Henry Hudson’s brother. Although she continues to work as an illustrator, she now focuses on explorations in the fine arts. 



"Photographs" Loel Barr


    Emerge Gallery & Art Space

    228A Main Street, Saugerties, NY  (845) 247-7515

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