Thursday, March 15, 2018

Barbara Postel Obit - 1938 - 2018


Barbara Postel, artist, 1938-2018 

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.“
                                                                                              - Pablo Picasso

This was not the problem for Barbara Postel, a life-long artist, born in Queens, NY. 

As a child, Barbara Frances Postel had all the art supplies she needed along with a bounty of
curiosity to explore the world around her. Color and shapes fascinated her and before she
could read, she was wielding crayons and studying the stars and constellations.

She had entered the world of the artist yet she loved physics and majored in this abstract form of
mathematics in high school, winning a coveted award. As a young woman, Postel became a
National Merit Scholar and secured a scholarship to the Community College of New York.

Her beaming cityscapes won her acclaim early in her career from her mentors at the Art Students
League, but it was with her teacher, Henry Hensch, at his Cape Cod studio, that she fell in love
with the natural world and embarked on what would be a lifetime devotion to the landscapes
around her.

Her teachers raved about her. Postel was written up by prominent art critic, Lawrence Campbell, who
wrote, ...” a promising figurative painter, she can paint anything as expertly as anyone.” Good
reviews bolster the confidence of young artists and Postel was no exception. With her
expressive voice, she called everyone she could think of to rejoice with her. "Bravo” …..for
your splendid landscapes,” said Joseph Hirschfeld in 1970, "you have a gift for original
landscape - structure in abstract form.”

“Barbara is an inventive, creative and ingenious person and has combined all these elements
in a bold, geometric and abstract way,” said H.W. Peschel of the American Institute of Architects.
“…a  powerful landscape: Dark swirls shot through with streaks of light capture her impressions of a stormy sky; broiling waves of color render her relationship to rocks and water,” said Carole Goodale of “Art and Science” in 1986.

A lifelong adventuress, she was awarded the Edward G. MacDowell prize that took her on
travels around the world. She imbibed the cultures of France, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Puerto
Rico and Nigeria, which all fed into her artist’s furnace. Everything excited her. With her
hazel eyes and thick black hair, she was fearless, afraid of nothing.

When she passed on March 6th, at age 80, she had produced hundreds of strong and stunning
works documenting her beloved subject of Nature. Rocks, rushing streams, brooks and
boulders which made up the landscape of her home of 25 years in Point Pleasant were
echoed in her vibrant skillful paintings. She and her husband of 43 years, Carlos Guerrero,
created a sanctuary of wildlife which Barbara captured in her works.

Postel designed her light- filled house and studio as an extension of the outdoors with large sunny windows and inspiring views. Often visitors would find her and Carlos moving rocks and boulders to create the embrace of stone walls that surrounded their home and became subject for her next works.

Barbara was so vital and healthy most of her life that it was hard to believe when she fell ill
only 3 months ago.  "I thought I could just bring her home, feed her healthy foods and my
 devotion and she would recover,” Carlos mourned, but it was not to be.

"Dynamic, energetic, funny, full of life and exasperating," her friends wrote about her.

Dying is serious business and, says Carlos, "We were so grateful to have had supportive help. Our hospice nurses - especially our “angel”,  Adrienne - set up hospice care at home. Several friends kept
us company in this very trying time including family friends Jason , Mary, and Donna “When I
needed something, “ said Carlos, “they were there to help.”

The heavy snow fell around them creating a pure white canvas once again. Death was
whispering at the door.  Barbara whispered to her lifelong partner, “Carlos, I’ll wake up
tomorrow and look out the window.”

And that next day, she took her last breath. It was Tuesday, March 6, at 3:40 in the bright sunshine, with a smile on her face, looking out her window into the silent white snow, surely contemplating her next work.

A celebration of life for Barbara will be announced later. "We'll meet here at the house,"
said Carlos, "Right here among everything she loved."

View her many videos on YouTube. Enter her name in the search engine and be shocked
and surprised by this unforgettable woman, Barbara Postel. 

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