Omaha based artist Belinda Barnao creates rich, tactile oil paintings that explore light, surface and the emotive power of colour. Belinda is a self-taught artist who has been painting full-time for 10 years. She exhibits throughout New Zealand and has works held in private collections nationally and internationally.
Belinda's art practise grew out of a desire to capture her own way of seeing the world. Belinda is partially sighted, this lack of 100% "literal" vision is what the artist calls her unique "mysterious input". Unable to work from any reference, working drawing or life subject, and only from a close proximity to her canvas, Belinda delves into her imagination for visual content. In this way, she creates work free from external references and pressures.
Belinda employs a range of non-traditional techniques to create her works, utilising her hands to paint, along with spatulas, shoe brushes, and paint tube lids. Materials used in her works include resins, shellac, french inks and oil paint, which she builds up over many months. The sheer build up of these materials creates a physical weight to her canvases. They become highly tactile and inviting to the viewer. Belinda is careful to situate paints that absorb light beside paints that reflect light, enabling the colours to visually react against each other particularly in low light conditions, this causes the works to come alive at night.
While predominately abstract, Belinda's painted surfaces often hide figures and other motifs such as moons and forests. These figurative aspects seem to appear as if under their own power and sometimes surprise Belinda herself during the making process. As the artist describes the "figures appear mysteriously but belong immediately". These motifs add a sense of depth and context to the work.
Belinda Barnao's abstract paintings evolve as she works. She works quickly, instinctively. and with boldness. By not looking back she prevents second guessing and allows the process to drive the outcome.