This month’s featured artist is Theodora Barda, a curious mixed media artist who turns her passion for exploring new artistic methods into learning workshops, where she teaches obscure forms of art such as fabric painting and tea bag art.

An Interview with Theodora Barda: Our June 2019 Sketchbook Prompts Winner!

By Theodora Barda

Theodora’s Background

Name: Theodora Barda
Country: Volos, Greece
Passions: Painting, art, music, books, coffee, poetry, watercolors, art supplies, nature, forests, the moon and the stars, thunderstorms, Frida Kahlo, Van Gogh, Salvador Dali,  Jackson Pollock, old bookstores, the smell of the rain, the color of the raging sea, the sound of waves
Education: Art Conservation
Creative Works: Many paintings, personal and team exhibitions. Too many art journals, jewellery, fabric painting, tea bag art, artistic doll making, sculpting and painting on grand surfaces. Glass bead making, metalsmithing and bookbinding
Favourite Quote: “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

Which prompt did you choose to work with this month, and why? 

I chose to work with “the last dream you remember” prompt because I often paint my dreams or am inspired by them. The last dream I remember is that I was a bird that was flying and it felt really nice. Hence why I painted this woman with bird wings. I quite often paint wings – I love them for giving me a sense of freedom. Angel wings or butterfly wings and sometimes bird wings are what I go to most. 

Paperblanks Sketchbook Prompts June 2019 - "the last dream I remember"
“the last dream you remember” sketchbook prompt June 2019 by Theodora Barda

What types of materials did you use to create your artwork?

I consider myself a mixed media artist because I love to use all kinds of art supplies and combine them. Every art medium has something new to offer: a different feel, a different touch. But my most used art supplies and my most loved ones are by far watercolours. I have a big collection of expensive artist’s grade watercolours and I continue buying new material all the time. I love that feeling of serenity they can give to my artwork and the freedom that you have when you paint with them. But most of all, I’m obsessed with their transparency, that delicate look of coloured water. I watch them mesmerized every time as they expand on the watercolour paper and as they change shape and form. Watercolour is as much a lovely and unique medium as it is difficult to work with. Stll, I love the challenge every time.

Is there anything you are seeking to express through your art?

I mostly try to express my deepest thoughts and feelings. Actually, I don’t try, it just happens naturally. It can be something I read, a book or a poem. Or perhaps something I saw, a dream, a place, a movie or a person. Even something I felt, something that happened to me, a song, a memory, a smell – anything can affect me. When something has a deep impact on me, it is expressed through my art and the outcome of my art totally depends on my mood.

It is scary to expose yourself that way but we artists must be honest to ourselves and to others, we cannot lie. We have this urge to expose ourselves and hide at the same time. We have no choice, if we want to create good art we have to make others feel what we feel. And to do that, we must be in touch with ourselves and as a result endlessly expose our deepest feelings.

By Theodora Barda

Have you received any formal training in art?

I received basic training when I studied Art Conservation in school. I took lessons in sketching, painting, bookbinding and colour theory, as well as photography, sculpting, wall painting (fresco), mosaics, history of art and history of past civilizations. But I kept training myself after school.

I have read dozens of books, attended online classes, watched hundreds of videos and I have practiced almost every day for years. That’s why I consider myself a self-taught artist. I keep educating myself through reading and researching. I always do deep research before I start to work with a new technique or a new medium. I try out new art supplies all the time: testing and combining them or using them on different surfaces to see what will happen. I never stop researching. Mostly because I love it and secondly because I find it exhausting and extremely boring to do the same thing time and time again.

I love the challenge of discovering new techniques and mediums and that often leads me to do things I never imagined I could do. For example, I recently discovered that I can use mixed media art on fabric. As a result of so many people asking me how I do it, I’m currently developing a workshop on the topic.

Theodora Barda Art
Paperblanks Sketchbook Prompts June 2019, Theodora Barda

Any advice you would like to share with aspiring artists?

Well, that is a tough question. I think that the most useful advice is not to give up. If you have a dream, chase it. Believe in yourself, work hard and go for it! Failure will happen, but if you stop there you will never get where you want.

Have patience – with yourself, with timing and with others. Patience is a virtue. If you fail, try again. Practice every day if you can and don’t let fear get in your way.

And the most important advice of all: do what you love! Whether it’s for a hobby or your day job – for 10 minutes a day, just do it!

Are you working on any new projects you would like to share?

I’m working on developing some online classes right now. It takes quite some time because I want them to be perfect. My first workshop will be Mixed Media on Fabric and then Tea Bag Art and Altering Old Books for Art Journals. As well as that, I decided to start painting on canvas again, so I’m going to paint a series of mixed media, abstract paintings. Also, I’m starting a collection with handmade bags and pouches on my new online shop.

Thank you, Theodora!

Be sure to visit Hand Made By Dora to see more of Theodora’s work.


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