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Artist spotlight: Barbara Counsil-Burney

Barbara Council-Burney with her award-winning piece that won “People’s Choice” in the 2022 Eugene Mayor’s Art Show.

By SU STELLA/for The Herald  —  The first thing that you notice about Barbara is her radiant smile.

Some people are born to be artists, and Barbara Counsil Burney is definitely one of those people. As a child, she loved to study, learn and create. Luckily, she was blessed with parents that let her curiosity flourish. They encouraged her to follow her path even when her high school teachers tried to discourage her from being a ‘starving artist.’

The attached photo is of two boys admiring barbara’s installation “Altar to The Badlands” on display at the Broadway Commerce Center in Eugene, June 2022.

Barbara is passionate about being outdoors. In her youth, she was on the cross country team, which led to an athletic scholarship to Kirtland Community College in Michigan. The college was tucked in the woods, with wild turkeys and deer regularly visiting the campus. The art department was an incredible hidden gem in northern Michigan. After early morning cross country practice, she worked as the photography lab tech in the dark room. The rest of her day was filled with art and writing projects.

Barbara excelled in art college

Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, accepted her in their illustration program, where she bloomed. Barbara excelled in two very different styles, realism and non-traditional. She has illustrated four children’s books and is working on her own, using her whimsical illustration style. Her photorealistic oil paintings are influenced by nature. Barbara has already left her mark on this town with her striking Sasquatch mural on the car wash by Ray’s.

While living in Oregon, Barbara started working as a seasonal ranger for Oregon State Parks in the Columbia Gorge area. Her personality and job were a perfect fit because her job was to connect people to the natural world. Immersed in nature, she began painting large realistic landscapes and wildflowers. Moreover, her classic paintings are so strikingly beautiful that her oil painting titled Beauty Beware was the 2022 People’s Choice Award in the ‘Eugene Mayor Art Show.’

Girl meets boy at flea market

In 2013, just after Barbara moved to Eugene, she was vending at the Piccadilly Flea Market. There, she met her future husband, Matt. This slow-moving romance took six years of friendship before they went on their first date. However, this love story takes a delightful twist, with the couple eloping and getting married by Latourell Falls, Oregon in 2021.

Barbara is putting together a small art show at Mane Street Coffee for the month of March. She is working with Toni Wassenberg of

An intersection mural titled “The Dancing Bears”, painted by Barbara in 2022, located at Cheshire and Cedar streets by Sladden Park in Eugene.

the Art Works Gallery for the April Earth Day Show; both businesses are located on 1st Street, between Oak and Ash Streets in Oakridge.

Barbara is now booking summer murals and live painting for events. Her summer plans include helping her husband Matt renovate their spacious workshop in the Industrial Park. Oakridge is richer having this couple move to the area since both are accomplished artists that will add a creative direction to our fine city.

Her illustrations can be found at

Her classical realism and installation art is at

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