About Barbara Cheshire

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Coming from and growing up with a family history of blacksmiths, fire was a very important aspect of my early years so is often used symbolically in my paintings and drawings. 


However, I have always created things and experienced the world from a spiritual perspective, thus symbolism has also been a strong element throughout much of my artwork. Although fabric, needle and thread were the early tools of my creations, in my 40’s fine art became a passion where spiritual and creative lives meshed. Drawing and painting became a fascination influenced by my years of running a painting and decorating business and watching a painter mixing the colours of his trade.

My creativity is also expanded after being involved with the broader art community through reading, going to exhibitions and experimenting with materials and applications. When one’s mind is invigorated, the outflow of creativity seems to be enhanced.

After studying the philosophy, practise, history, and psychology of art alongside theology, the experience of creating an artwork was reinforced and still remains a conduit to the inner self and my belief system.

Therefore, a metaphoric approach is predominately used in my work to signify a spiritual context. The next step in my artistic development was to strive for a natural aesthetic through a contemplative and meditative mindset. It seems as if I need to surrender to the unknown and meditation continues to be a natural part of my creative process today.

Over the years the context of my practice has always been drawn towards the vicissitudes in life’s happenings through conceptual principals; the what, why, when, where and how of a work. However, I term this approach as experiential in that I explore both my sensory and spiritual perceptions of place or subject matter. When I am in tune with both the inner and outer forms of awareness, it unlocks my complete human experience. This approach releases a natural creative rhythm and my work takes on a personal inner cadence of expression.

The application process is commenced by drawing a rough image of my subject/conceptual experience in thin paint or watercolour pencils (size governs this decision). The drawing is then properly evaluated, refined and improved until I am happy with its strength. The metaphorical tones, colours, media and technique are then selected for the work and are chosen because they best communicate the visual image of the concept in my mind. However, as the painting progresses, the process becomes a two-way relationship between the artist and the painting as the painting often becoming the instructor.

Still, I believe an audience will always bring their own history and experience to their conceptual perception of an artwork. Yet given that many human experiences are similar, I would like my artwork to enable the viewer to share different aspects of an inner, spiritual experience of the subject matter.  



  • Doctor of Philosophy, James Cook University 2013

  • Master in Creative Arts, James Cook University, 1994

  • Graduate Diploma of Education, Monash University,1992

  • Diploma of Art Townsville TAFE, 1987


  • 2012 – Present  Private art education

  • 2013 – 2015      James Cook University, (casual)

  • 1992 – 2012      Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE (full time)

  • 1993 – 1998      James Cook University, Art & Design (casual)

  • 1987 -1991        Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE (part-time)

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” 

Pablo Picasso