"I've discovered the polar bear as the primary character in my most personal language. The bear archetype has presented itself as an inspiration for spiritual vision to all cultures throughout history. Whether walking on the tundra or through my imagination, polar bears influence my life with a power that serves as a trustworthy guide."
Barbara Stone has exclusively used the image of polar bears as a personal symbol in her artwork since 1979. Her research has taken her to Canada's Northwest Territories, the Yukon and Alaska to study the yearly migration of polar bears. She frequently visits Churchill, Manitoba and Iqualuit, of the Baffin region of the Northwest Territories. There she is fondly known as "The Polar Bear Lady" and has been referred to as the originator of the "vegetarian polar bears." Her involvement there includes an artist-in-residence program as well as an annual exhibit of her work.
Barbara's polar bear designs have been interpreted for use by the National Wildlife Federation, Audubon Society, Sierra Club and the Los Angeles Zoo. She is honored to be included in a collection, by invitation, of the White House, at the Smithsonian Institute and in that of the Empress of Japan in Tokyo, Japan. Recent work reflects her impressions of trips to Germany, Norway, Sweden, and France.
In June of 1997, Barbara was featured in an ABC prime time TV special, "Arctic Terror", which explored her experiences in the north. That same month she returned from her third art show in Japan where she represented Hospice and shared accounts of her friends and acquaintances who have found the symbol of the polar bear useful when grieving the loss of a loved one, facing life-threatening illness and as aid in pain management.
Barbara has also done the illustrations for a children's book, In the Company of Bears, published in 1994, which, in early 1995, won the "Benjamin Franklin Award" for best "first published by new publisher" edition. She is currently developing stories inspired by accounts of people's experiences with polar bears - often of a subjective or visionary nature.
Originally from Rockford, Illinois, Barbara moved to Colorado in 1971 and is currently a resident of Longmont, Colorado. A self-taught artist, she has developed a unique style of incorporating colored pencil with watercolor in her paintings. She has explored many media with the polar bear image, including fabric design for Japanese kimonos, porcelain sculpture, water color paintings, wooden furniture forms, pen and ink and pencil drawings, and serigraph and lithograph prints. She designs in her turn-of-the-century converted barn home in Colorado.