Not your average pencil pusher


Not your average pencil pusher – (From the Langley Times)


Fort Langley artist Pat Barker works on a ceiling mural which will offer her own spin on Michaelangelo’s famous image of God and Adam from the Sistine Chapel. Barker is preparing to open a studio dedicated to the pencil in her live/work space in Bedford Landing. The Pencil Studio will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 13 and afterward, by appointment.
By Brenda Anderson – Langley Times
Published: April 01, 2013 4:00 PM
Updated: April 01, 2013 4:33 PM

As a medium of communication goes, it’s about as uncomplicated as it gets. Even a tad old fashioned, one could argue.

But for Pat Barker, the humble pencil is nothing if not an endless source of fascination … and inspiration. So much so, in fact, that the Fort Langley artist is getting set to open an entire studio dedicated to pencils — featuring works of art created by them and from them.

“I’ve always been interested in the pencil,” said Barker, stretched out on a padded platform, raised several feet above the floor of her live/work space in the Flat Iron Building in Fort Langley’s Bedford Landing. As she chats, the artist is working on a mural which she began drawing in her mind months ago.

Still in its early stages, the image is a re-creation of, arguably, the most famous scene from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel — the creation of Adam, in which God reaches out to the first man and sparks life into him through the touch of a fingertip.

Although her aim is to make it as much like the original as possible — albeit done in pencils instead of fresco (water-based paint applied to semi-dried plaster) — Barker’s version will employ a bit of creative license.

“I thought, wouldn’t it be neat if God was handing (Adam) a pencil,” she said.

“I don’t even remember how I got the idea. I must have been doing something with (Michaelangelo) or googling it.”

This is actually Barker’s second attempt at the scene. She began painting it first in acrylics before taking a step back and rethinking her plan.

“I wasn’t comfortable with that. I realized I should be doing this with pencil.”

The mural will be a feature piece for the studio, but Barker isn’t planning on finishing it ahead of her April 12 opening. Instead, she hopes it will serve to draw visitors back to the studio occasionally to check on her progress.

Closer to floor level, Barker will feature work by several artists — both local and international — though she will be the studio’s principal artist, displaying and selling her own photographs, drawings, paintings and cards.

“I’m really interested in close-ups — as with the corks and bamboo,” she said, referring to two of the first pencil pieces she completed.

“I really like the attention to detail, which is why I like Dalton Ghetti. For him, a good day is three flakes of graphite,” she said.

A Brazilian born artist who now lives in Connecticut, Ghetti painstakingly carves pencils’ graphite tips into everything from linked hearts to a tiny hammer and an old boot. From these, he makes prints and postcards, which Barker’s studio will carry. She also has pieces by San Francisco artist Agelio Batle, who carves larger chunks of graphite into three-dimensional pieces of art which can be used to write.


There are photos taken by her son, Nathan Solar, and Barker will also feature pieces by Ed Pretty, a local wood artist who built the scaffolding Barker climbs each day to work on her ceiling mural.

Even as she’s pulling the space together, Barker is busy at work on a documentary detailing the history of the pencil.

“I’ve always been interested in the pencil.

“The more I got to know about it, the more I realized I didn’t know,” she said.

Barker’s space, aptly titled The Pencil Studio is located in the Flat Iron Building in Bedford Landing at #10-23230 Billy Brown Road. The studio will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 13. Anyone who would like to visit on another day, is encouraged to send Barker an email at to ensure she will be available to open the studio.

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