California-based painter, poet and Russophile Barbara Hazard will present visual and lyrical reflections on the creative process at Peninsula College’s Studium Generale program at 12:35 pm Thursday, April 18. The free presentation will be given in the college’s Little Theater on the main campus in Port Angeles.
Hazard’s latest book, Pentimento, was released this past December. In it, Hazard addresses the subjects of creativity, love and beauty in 20 poems and 60 images done in both vivid color and black-and-white. A multifaceted talent, Hazard notes in her introduction to Pentimento that she first began to paint seriously in her 30s, to write poetry at age 60 and to quilt at 70.
In an interview with the artist Howard Margolis, which is published on Hazard’s website, Hazard says: “I want a certain elegance in my painting that I don’t seem to be capable of. I hold my mother responsible for this inner standard, but it persists, shaming me for not painting like Corot or Bonnard, or perhaps Van Gogh, but without the darkness. I don’t seem to be able to work without the dark.”
In the same interview, Hazard goes on to say: “My friendship with the St. Petersburg artists has helped with my acceptance of the dark. I have let go of some of my urge to do beautiful things and allowed more rawness, deeper colors, browns and muddiness. I am working more intuitively, not finishing everything just so.
Hazard grew up on Long Island and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last 40 years. She holds a B.A. in graphic arts from University of Illinois, and an M.A. in Creative Arts Therapy from Lone Mountain College in San Francisco.
Since her first trip to Russia in 1983, she has spent an average of two months a year there ever since, mostly painting in St. Petersburg. She came to know the Leningrad independent artists’ community in the mid-1980s when, together with Sergei Kovalskii, she curated an exchange of exhibitions with the TEII (The Fellowship for Experimental Fine Arts) for Gallery Route One in Point Reyes Station.
In addition to Pentimento, her books include Wednesday River, Off Nevsky Prospekt: Life Among Leningrad’s Unofficial Artists and The Summer Kitchen, in collaboration with Sandra Gilbert.