Artist in Focus – Barbara Joyce Noton

Artist in Focus – Barbara Joyce Noton

In an effort to shine a light on the phenomenal talents of local artists, Whittington Castle have been proudly hosting artwork from a number of such talented artists. To help push these artists and their work we are starting a series of monthly blog posts focused on the hand behind the brush.

The first of these will be about a talented local artist who is sadly no longer with us. Barbara Joyce Noton, or Babs as she was known by many of her friends, was a woman who touched many hearts here at Whittington castle, being one of the earliest treasurers in the Whittington Castle Preservation Trust. Not only was she involved in helping run this beautiful castle, she was also the driving force behind the artist residencies about which I now have the pleasure to write.

Born and raised in Manchester, she moved to Chirk Bank in 1998, attending art classes in Ellesmere and building on her previous experiences and existing talent. She soon demonstrated an ability to not only absorb new techniques, but also to teach those techniques to others. It wasn’t long before Barbara joined Mikrokosmos, a local amateur dramatics group based in Mold, she produced artwork for many of their posters and programmes, as well as working on set design.

She soon found herself at the Qube in Oswestry, running weekly classes and offering private tuition to many of the towns budding artists. She joined Oswestry and District Society of Artists and exhibited regularly, often struggling to find time for her own creative endeavors. Her preferred medium was water colour, excelling at landscape and also turning her hand to portraiture with great success. She loved painting seascapes and was fascinated with portraying water.

A master of Pebo and Brusho, she gave demonstrations to local art groups in these two messy but spectacular techniques. Her true forte was in teaching, where she was not only exceptional but inspirational to the artists who were fortunate enough to be tutored by her. Her professional life as a counsellor meant that she often avoided giving answers to questions, but preferred to help the questioner to find the answer themselves.

She gave her last lesson in January of 2022, and the absence of these lessons effected her greatly. She was often more pleased when her students sold their own work than she was when one of her own pieces sold. She would become a competent photographer, only once displaying her photography, paired with the painting it inspired.

The exhibition we are lucky to have on display at Whittington Castle barely scratches the surface of her talent, with her best pieces being unavailable for display, but if you are interested in seeing the work of this inspirational local artist then please drop by and see for yourself, maybe even buy a painting or two. All proceeds from the paintings go to charity.

Thank you for reading.