Born in Africa, Hawarden based David Barnes (1942 - 2021) lived in north Wales most of his adult life. He spent much of his free time walking in the mountains of Snowdonia and the surrounding coastline and his work was a response to what he saw around him on his travels.
He qualified as a chartered accountant and spent most of his working life in professional practice. In his forties David took an Open University degree in history and economics. He then worked for several years as a tutor for the Open University, running seminars in the UK, Europe and Africa on financial management on the MBA programme.
Although David Barnes enjoyed art at school and has been an art collector for many years, it was not until he retired from the Educational world in 2006 that he began to paint seriously. Nevertheless, he progressed quickly, earning his rapid success after spending many hours in the studio. His earliest days as a painter was very much shaped by the goal of emulating the Welsh artist Kyffin Williams. David was fascinated by the brooding landscapes and sombre colours so evident in Kyffin Williams’ paintings. As a result, he began to investigate the background of the artist and was lucky enough to be invited to a private viewing where to his delight he met the artist Sir Kyffin Williams. However, he soon became fascinated by the art work of other Welsh artists and the work of the French Impressionists.
Talking about influences on his work David said: “When I did a bit of research I discovered that some of the early Impressionists - for example, Van Gogh - started using the palette knife. I went over to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and when you see his paintings in the flesh you can see the palette knife strokes which he used. The visit proved very useful in the "learning curve.” The result of these broadening influences, coupled with David's continued experimentation with paint, has been the emergence of a distinctive style of his own. David captured the greys and browns of a North Wales landscape with brooding intensity, but he also utilised arresting splashes of colour reminiscent of the Scottish colourists. His paintings are highly textural. He used a palette knife, painting in oils and using a thick impasto technique to produce bold strokes that add strength and texture to his paintings, giving it a sculptured feel.
David's paintings are shown in several leading British galleries and one of his paintings is exhibited in the Welsh Assembly Building in Cardiff.