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Artist Spotlight: Barry Shrewsbury

“Intuitive chaos.” That’s how North Fork artist Barry Shrewsbury describes his mixed media art, his website and his method of painting.

Shrewsbury said he often mixes latex household paint with acrylics to create his artwork.

Sometimes he incorporates small objects such as buttons, sand, pebbles or paperclips. Even his canvases vary in size, because every one of his abstract paintings is truly unique.“I don’t really think about what they’re going to look like in the end, but I do think about what colors I’ll use, depending on my mood,” Shrewsbury said during his successful Sierra Art Trails exhibit in The Dance Club in North Fork last weekend.

“But how much paint I throw grows with the process,” he said.

His canvases are full of drips, splatters, splotches and smudges. Each is different, and each is compelling in its own way. Part of the fun, he said, is figuring out how to hang any particular piece.

“It looks and feels different from every different angle,” he said.

Barry Shrewsbury No. 9Sure enough, some canvases have many layers, while others have only two. But in that case, they are always “two colors that work really well together,” he said.

Shrewsbury was a swim coach and middle school math and science teacher in the Los Angeles area for 19 years before moving to North Fork “because of the Vipassana meditation center,” he said.

Two years ago, his new identity as an artist was born when he painted a canvas with some of the yellow latex paint left over from painting a room in his home, and then splattered some dark blue paint – from another room – in a pattern that he found was very pleasing.

“I’m always exploring new ways to apply paint to canvas,” Shrewsbury said. “I might use a brush or a twig or a sponge, a piece of cardboard, or even my fingers. Its all interesting … because it’s the process that counts.”

Last year, he exhibited his paintings in Oakhurst during Sierra Art Trails, but this year he decided to help North Fork become more of a destination on the Trail, so teamed up with digital photographer Erik Platzek to host their exhibits at The Dance Club.

“We only had two places that had exhibitors here last year, and this year we have six or seven, with at least a dozen artists in North Fork, so that’s great,” he said.

He and his wife, Nina Powell, bought All-Weather Roofing and Building Supply in Oakhurst in July, so now he can have all the paint he needs for his projects. Click here to read about their mid-September open house.

To see more of Shrewsbury’s art, visit his website at

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