Michael Barfield drinking coffee

Impressed by the Honesty

I’m most impressed with your paintings. They made me feel like I was inside the paintings watching what was happening within. 

It seems that anyone looking to hire a creative on any basis would have to take a serious look at Michael Barfield.

— J. Aaron Ford: Director of Industry Relations and Business Development, Grooveshark.com

Michael Barfield singer/songwriter
IOWA NATIVE MICHAEL BARFIELD received his B.A. in fine art from Truman State University, studying with internationally known William Unger (student of Oskar Kokoschka). Over the past forty years he has concentrated on realism with an emphasis on narrative. Currently he paints in the St Louis area. His work is in private and corporate collections throughout the United States.

“Stop …


my daughter frantically yelled when I pulled up to the intersection near our home. Cataracts destroyed most of my eyesight. This was in 2010 and my daughter rode shotgun because she was terrified what might happen with me driving practically blind.

After four years of seeing through a dirty aquarium, I was in despair and battling to keep working as an artist. A friend visited and asked how I was doing and I told him the situation. My insurance would pay for any major medical but not doctor visits. Mercifully, he told me he would pay to get me in to find out what was wrong.

Pre-surgery I was painting with my nose about three inches from the canvas, still it was a blur and the colors of objects were muddy.

After surgery, color became vivid, I practically drove my kids crazy— reading every sign, constantly commenting on how crystal clear everything looked.  Now I could tackle large canvasses, because I could stand back and take a look at them from a distance to see if the painting was holding together.

And when I could drive again, out of habit, my daughter jumped in the car with me. Just as I pulled up to the intersection, where I had scared her before, the light turned red. I coasted to the corner and said, “Oh it’s green,” and acted as if I was pulling out. She hollered “stop” and I laughed. Told her I was just testing her, to which she said with a grin, “Not funny, Daddy.”

Getting my eyesight back has had a huge impact on my work. To be able to see color well, to see the edge and shape of objects, has been an emotional experience. Every day I look at the world through “new” eyes, discovering the wonder woven into this planet. And that wonder is what I want to infuse into every painting. To point this aspect of life out to others — to point others to the sense of mystery bound into the world we live in.

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