Artist Biography

Bernita Barfield has always had a passion for art,  but never the
time to dedicate to learning the creative process.  A full time
career as a civilian employee with the Department of Army at Ft.
Huachuca, plus breeding Arabian horses, kept her and her
husband extremely focused on work and the ranch.

Once retired, she was finally able to explore her life long desire
to paint.  “Seeing the southwest from the back of a horse is a
thrilling way to get up close and personal with the beauty of this
country and the vast and changing landscapes” says Barfield.

While attending Eastern Michigan University, she took art
classes and the seed for creative expression was firmly
planted.  For the past 35 years she has been an avid amateur
photographer and that experience has honed her eye for
composition and design.

Her artistic journey began in 2004 when she attended classes
sponsored by the Taos School of Art in New Mexico. Since then
she has attended workshops with Louisa  McElwain, John
Farnsworth and Bill Arms, and recently with David Collins and
Sarah Webber.

She has exhibited her work in juried shows in the Empire
Ranch  Western Art Show, The Empire 100 Western Art Show,
the Tubac Center of the Arts and the Huachuca Art
Association.  She is a member of the Huachuca Art Association
and the Tubac Center for the Arts.

Barfield is an award-winning Contemporary Southwest Artist
who currently lives in Sonoita, AZ., with her 6 horses, 2 dogs
and a cat where she predominately paints landscapes of the
southwest using oils and palette knife. Her distinct style reflects
a deep connection with the land.  Her expressionistic work is
easily identified by the bold strokes, vivid colors and the lush
thick texture inspired by the magnificent and sensuous colors
of the southwest.

Bernita Barfield is represented by 55 Main Gallery in Bisbee,

Artist Resume

Born     1943     Detroit, Michigan

Residence          Sonoita, Arizona


Bachelor of Art, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI

Master of Art, Ball State University, Frankfurt, Germany

Taos Art School, class with Bill Arms, Taos, New Mexico

Taos Art School, Plein Aire class with Louisa McElwain, Canyon De   
Chelly, AZ

Taos Art School, Plein Aire class with Louisa Mc Elwain, Abiquiu, New

Class with David Simmons, Tubac, AZ

Class with Sarah Webber, Tucson, AZ


When I paint, I feel as if I’m having a love affair with my subject.
I develop an emotional connection.  The canvas is the venue
with which I can express the passion of the moment. The oil
has a very sensuous appeal.  It is my perfume.

I use a large palette knife, loaded heavily with paint that creates
thick textures.  I like to feel as if I am sculpting the oil to the
canvas.  The knife allows me the freedom to let my emotions
and energy flow across the canvas as I paint with joy and
abandon. I often listen to opera music as I paint. The passion
and power I hear in those songs inspire my own artistic voice.

When a painting comes together, I am amazed at what I have
accomplished. I have always dreamt of this moment!  However,
sometimes when I paint, it feels as if I’m experiencing the agony
of giving birth, combined with the ecstasy of that first love,
never knowing which will surface first.  When I complete a
painting and my “ child “ is born, the journey has been
incredible, and I’m emotionally exhausted.

I tend to resist following the many rules of art, the "always and
the nevers". They can be too confining & restrictive.  I guess as
a product of the sixties, I continue to have a questioning
nonconforming nature, thus relying mostly on my intuition
creative instincts to guide my artistic expression.

In my paintings, you will often see the intense colors of purple.  
It is a very rich color and has exciting relationships to the reds,
yellows and crimson that I often use. I am instinctively drawn to
these colors as they best express how I feel & bring my
paintings to life.   I find them the most sensuous and alluring.  
This is the tapestry of the Southwest.

The vast and majestic vistas of the Southwest are my constant
source of inspiration.  They impart a spiritual awareness and
sense of awe at what I see.  The colors are constantly
changing.  The sky has many fickle & ominous moods. The
Southwest has a magnificent palette with spectacular colors
and subtle hues.  It is a constant challenge to capture on
canvas that visual and emotional moment when I see my next  
painting .

When I  paint, it is a very personal, freeing and emotional
experience.  I paint for my own pleasure and satisfaction.  
When others connect with my art, it is humbling and deeply
gratifying. When people see a painting of mine for the first time,
it is my hope they experience an emotional connection, joy
flushes the face and goose bumps appear on their arms.

My artistic journey continues to be a magnificent obsession!

January 14th – February 22nd.  Empire 100 Western Art Show and Sale,
Tucson, AZ.
Northern Trust Bank,
3450 E. Sunrise Dr, Tucson.
Juried exhibitor.         

January 9 thru March 9th.  12th Annual Empire 100 Western Art Show and
Sale, Tucson, AZ
Northern Trust Bank, 3450 E. Sunrise Dr, Tucson.
Juried Exhibitor
Empire Ranch

January 10 thru March 10th.  Empire 100 Western Art Show and Sale,
Tucson, AZ
Northern Trust Bank, 3450 E. Sunrise, Tucson.
Empire Ranch

February 9 thru May 8th.  TCI Wealth Gallery, Tucson, AZ.  
One woman show.

April 7 thru May 6. Huachuca Art Association Gallery, Sierra Vista, AZ.
Featured Artist.  

May 15 thru June 15th. Viaggio Gallery, Sonoita, AZ.
One woman show.

January 10th  thru February 14th.   Murphy Gallery at St. Phillips in the  
Foothills Episcopal Church, 4440 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson.   
Juried Exhibitor. Three juried paintings.

January 15 thru March 12th.  Empire Ranch 100 Art Show Sale, Tucson, AZ
Northern Trust Bank, 3450 E. Sunrise, Tucson.
Juried Exhibitor.
Empire Ranch

November , 40th Annual Mountain Oyster Club Art Show & Sale, Tucson,
AZ .
Juried Exhibitor

January thru March. Empire 100 Western Art Show and Sale, Tucson.
Northern Trust Bank, Tucson, AZ.  
Juried  exhibitor.

January thru March. Empire 100 Western Art Show and Sale, Tucson.
Northern Trust Bank, Tucson, AZ.  
Juried  exhibitor.    

“Colors of Spring” – Huachuca Art Association Open Juried Show, Sierra
Vista, AZ  

Tubac Center of the Arts - 38th Annual Members’ Exhibit. Tubac, AZ
Juried Exhibitor.

Tubac Center of the Arts - Members’ Exhibit.  Tubac, AZ
Juried Exhibitor.

Huachuca Art Gallery - Members’ Exhibit, Sierra Vista, AZ

Empire Roundup Western Art Show, Sonoita, AZ

“Colors of Fall”  -  Huachuca Art Association Open Juried Show, Sierra
Vista, AZ


Ranch  House Gallery
Agua Calente Park, Tucson, AZ
Juried Exhibitor

Viaggio Italiano Galleria
Sonoita, AZ
Juried Exhibitor

TCI Gallery
Tucson, AZ
Juried Exhibitor

Ranch House Gallery
Agua Caliente Park, Tucson, AZ

Artist of the Month Gallery, Tucson, AZ