This week we explore the colorful and magnificent artistic works of Wisconsin native, Barbara Zipperer. Deeply inspired by nature and the gorgeous national forests that Wisconsin boasts, Barbara Zipperer sees things that most people overlook.
“The seasons in Wisconsin provide a continuous challenge to transfer it’s beauty into a permanent representation that can be shared with others at any time of the year,” Barbara Zipperer Fine Art website. You’ll be sure to feel the majesty of nature as it practically jumps off the canvas in Barb’s work.
Though coming into the professional art world late in life, Barbara has taken the Great Lakes Region by storm in such a short time! Just beginning her professional journey in 2018, she has already been featured in many art galleries and festivals.
How did you come to be a Professional Artist?
Barbara Zipperer showed an affinity for art from the very beginning. Usually found drawing or taking art classes in her early education, Barb was always interested in painting, drawing and sketching. As a junior in High School in 1974, she was given a scholarship to attend the Summer Painting Program at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.
From there she decided that art was her passion, and painting would be her focus when she went off to school. However, at one time it was thought that art could only be applied to professions like architecture, which was “a man’s profession”. Discouraged by the constraints of family obligations and devotion to a safe, stabl future, painting and art was put on the backburner for many years.
It was only after her mother suggested that she try to remake an old, very special photograph that she became interested in art again. In 2018, she and her mother collaborated on “TWARDZIK”, a painting that replicated a photo of the car and cabin that her mother and father stayed in during their honeymoon many years ago. “The significance behind that cabin, and the car on that one, that was the car that my Mom and Dad had when they got married, and that was their honeymoon,” she says. Before long, they had put together something beautiful.
After her mother’s passing in 2018 she decided it was time to finally give herself and her art a real try. “Now’s the time to try it, I don’t have anything to lose… let’s go for it!” says Barb.
What Inspires You?
Barb Zipperer’s Fine Art is filled with gorgeous paintings and drawings in many mediums, from oils to watercolors. Nearly all of her amazing paintings and works of art are depictions of nature. Landscapes, seascapes and national forests fill the canvas and are brought to life by her brushstrokes.
“As a child my parents had a cottage that bordered the Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin,” says Barb. “My dad was the one to check out every dusty trail… so every weekend we were out exploring the woods. I just loved it, I loved the smells – I even had a walking stick land on my hand.”
Barb belongs to Water’s Edge Artists, a group in Northeastern Wisconsin. Their goals are to promote preservation of nature. They partner with the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust Preserve. She and other artists will go out into nature and paint or draw the things that they see; the things that they find beautiful. “My heart is just connected to that,” she says. “You can put me in the middle of a city, if there’s a tree there, or even a patch of grass I can find something to paint.”
What’s it like Painting with others?
“I’m so used to my grandchildren that I’m good at tuning others out,” she says. Barb and the Water’s Edge Artists will paint together on weekends, most recently in Algoma Wisconsin for the Art of Water festival.
Once she’s got her mind set on a project, she is attached to it. “I’m into what I’m doing,” she says, even so much so that she can block almost everything else out, devoting herself and her time to her work and her painting.
When she’s not zeroing in on her craft, she’s taking advice from others. Even though Barb hasn’t been professionally trained in art, “I am learning as I go,” she says. She often works with others and appreciates their feedback – always looking to improve and grow no matter what.
What’s your Painting Routine Like?
As a grandmother, Barb is usually found entertaining or taking care of many grandchildren in the home. She’s found that the mornings are the best time to do her work, and that most paintings can take from two to four hours. The mornings are so precious to her, that her husband will sometimes make breakfast for her so she can do her art. Barb hopes that her art can open doors for the two of them.
Oil or colored pencil are the current choices for Barb when it comes to her work. “In High School we’d learn with acrylic and graphite pencils,” she said. She and her husband converted a small kitchen in their basement to her home studio. But her work can “take over the whole house,” she says. She has a professional easel, but most likely you’ll find Barb’s paintings all over the house, filling up any space that they can.
What would you say is the most important part of Your Art?
“My creative outlet. I just enjoy doing it, I enjoy sharing it. I love everything about it,” she says. “I do it for me.”
Barb has an incredible talent for seeing the beauty in almost anything, especially in nature. “I can see what most people wouldn’t,” she says. In a city, when “everything is covered in cement,” Barb tries to hone in on those small, beautiful moments with nature and capture them in her work.
One of her main goals with her art is “To share the love of nature, and hopefully if I’m taking the time to look at it, maybe they’ll [people] take the time, too,” she says. “How can you love nature and not preserve it?”
If her art isn’t being stored in her home, you may find yourself gazing at a gorgeous Zipperer painting in one of Wisconsin’s many fine galleries. At the time of this article, Barb was able to display six paintings down at Basil Ishkabibble’s Art Gallery and Artist Share-Space.
She was also able to participate most recently in shows at the Steel Street Trading Co. and Art Gallery in Algoma, Wisconsin, 920 Local Exhibit in Appleton, Wisconsin, and a reception at the Art Garage in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She will also have paintings in the Green Bay Arts Unlimited springtime Festival this year.