Barrie started formal art training at the age of nine in classical realism in Baltimore, MD. She is the great granddaughter of a prominent American Impressionist and was encouraged by her family and teachers to pursue art seriously. She got her first commission at age 12.
By age 20, she had worked her way up to the level of painting portraits, and began studying with top portrait painters. Barrie then spent 15 years painting children, mainly for families in the American Southeast. She was picked up by agents including Portraits South and Portraits, Inc. in New York.
In 1998, she switched to specializing in dogs for the next 15 years after she was offered a solo show of dog paintings in New York’s Upper East Side, then had two more solo shows in Palm Beach, Fl. and Carmel, Ca. Focusing on dogs was fun, she says, and so was being flown all over the country to do them. It also led to a body of commercial work creating images for gift products.
Barrie became known as a top pastellist, and was invited to teach at the Pastel Society of America in New York. For a 2011 feature article on her, one of her agents said “her work in pastel is the best I’ve ever seen for a living artist. It is extraordinary.”
She now works in both pastel and oils, loves both for different reasons. The choice of which to use depends on the nature of the subject and client preference. Barrie paints a variety of subjects: children, adults, and horses in addition to dogs- her prices start at $5,000 for animals and $10,000 for humans. She gets to know her subjects in person, makes a careful study, takes hundreds of photos and works with the client in choosing how best to capture that individual subject.
With forty years of experience under her belt, Barrie continues to be in demand to paint family members of all kinds, but her focus is currently on adults, particularly adults in landscapes. Her painting of young rowers preparing to go out for practice won the competition for the cover of Marin magazine (Marin County, California). She is an avid rower herself, so this is a subject she knows and loves.
Barrie continues to study painting, does still lifes for fun, and to give back is beginning a pro bono project honoring global stewards (see Global Stewards Project page).
After a sabbatical in New Zealand, Barrie is now settled on the American West Coast, where she lives on a houseboat in Sausalito, Ca. She has a studio in the Industrial Center Building there, a vibrant community of 80 artists, as well as a smaller studio in Sonoma.