Angela Barbalace is a watercolor painter from Hamilton. Her work is from observation, sketches and studies. She employs this centuries old technique of getting the exact image desired. She is an award-winning illustrator whose work has been shown all over the world.

“Lisbon Cafe,” a watercolor work by Hamilton resident Angela Barbalace.

I have always loved the complexity of her work. Her work is realism with added abstraction, which makes it so distinctive. Her work shows figures, street scenes, land and seascapes.

She has an exhibit opening Nov. 1 at the Alfa Gallery in downtown New Brunswick. Please check it out.

What are you communicating with your art?

I work with a series of compositions, creating a visual story. I work from observation. I develop a preliminary study, and then paint my final composition.

What media do you use?

I use watercolor on paper. There is something I really enjoy about working with watercolor and paper. I realize watercolor is totally unforgiving, and sometimes difficult to work with well. Yet I find that when the brush first touches the paper there is a burst of energy.

Do you think viewers understand how difficult watercolor can be?

Honestly no. It’s not easy. Watercolor is said to be one of the hardest mediums to master. With watercolor you cannot easily paint over anything. You must “save” the whites as it is the white of the paper. That is why the preliminary sketches and composition are so important.

Who were you influenced by?

I studied with Mario Cooper before he passed, who was the Dean of Watercolor painting. He was very tough on me, but taught me so much. My favorite painter is by far Degas. There is something about Degas paintings that are just perfect.

What is your favorite local museum?

I am in NYC every week, and the Whitney Museum is my favorite. The Hoppers there are tremendous. The 7th and 8th floors at the Whitney are my favorites.

Do you paint seasonally? Summer scenes in the summer, for example.

When working outdoors, yes. I work from observation, so seasons do come into play. When working indoors, anything is game.

What fight/struggle do you have regarding your art?

My struggle is sales, getting the work out there. Maybe some patrons and galleries will see this interview.

What attribute should artists have?

Never give up on your art! If this is your passion do it! Keep at it!

What local attraction do you love?

I kickbox! I kickbox at a studio in Hamilton. I’ve been kickboxing for 16 years. I love it. After class, I will make gesture drawings of the students. It’s good for me all the way around.

What is most fun about being an artist?

I love being creative. Whether cooking, writing or drawing, it’s so much fun! I never gave up my crayons.

Is this area supportive of the arts?

I feel the best place to see the area artists are at the Ellarslie Open exhibition at the Trenton City Museum and the Phillips Mill Open show in New Hope. These exhibits attract 500 entries and only select 100 or so. It’s the best of the best.

What is on the horizon? What are you looking forward to?

I will have a lot of work in the show at Alfa Gallery in New Brunswick, opening Nov. 1 through December. I show at the Euphemia Gallery in Spring Lake, and am hoping to be asked to teach a figurative watercolor at the Arts Students League in New York.

For more information, go online to