Throughout the years, Judith Glass and Sheila Sabine
have had the privilege of working with Barbara Tapp, a very talented illustrator
who sketches houses for many local real estate agents and architects. Sheila
thought it would be interesting to know more about Barbara and how she actually
lives in her own home environment.
Barbara is a native Australian. She and her
childhood sweetheart moved from Australia to the Bay Area in 1980. They settled
in Kensington, which reminded Barbara of Australia because of the weather
patterns, which were condusive to lovely gardens. In 1988, they moved into their
present home on a quiet cul-de-sac near the Colusa Circle.
Barbara is a graduate of Interior Design from the
National Art School in Sydney. As she says, “I talk the language of drawing and
I walk the language of drawing. I inherited this talent from my father who was a
renowned Sydney architect.” She has been doing the well-known Karen Brown travel
series for years. She loves the portability of her trade. As she says, it is not
like playing the violin; an illustrator draws instinctively by hand and only
needs a very small space with pens and paper.
The top priority in her life has always been her
family. Her artwork had to dovetail with the raising of her three children. She
says she always situated herself in leftover spaces of the house, which often
has meant working in the hallways - much to the amusement of her friends. She
has also worked at the dining table, the kitchen table and currently has a small
cubbyhole closet off the master bedroom where she has set up her design board.
Her friends sit on the steps outside her tiny windows and visit with her.
In choosing to actually live in a house, Barbara
and her architect husband insist on views and good natural light with
south-facing being optimal. The other important aspect of living in a home is a
garden. The house must have charm and the garden must be intimate. Barbara’s
mother was a botanist by hobby. From an early age, Barbara became very familiar
with the growing of plants and their botanical names. Her home is surrounded by
gardens at every turn – each one full of texture and color. She gardens by
instinct and watches the colors changing with the seasons. She loves to begin
her days soaking in the hot tub under her oak trees, surrounded by her two
adoring cats, and the latest plants in bloom. Here she gathers her thoughts and
renews her spirit for the day. Indeed, she often puts in very long
hours-sometimes continuing her artwork until very late at night to meet her
deadlines. She loves the darkness of night, finding it peaceful with no
Barbara has a deep passion for her work. She
considers herself a very disciplined person. When discussing her kitchen,
Barbara replied the family eats lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and baked
dishes. She prefers to get something cooking so she can get back to work. It is
her opinion that everything has to be efficient.
Barbara offers the following words of wisdom for
- Barbara’s life mantra is “Nothing ventured -
- Let fate intervene.
- Live in a place with a view - you will feel
like you are a part of great geography on this earth.
- Life is a patchwork quilt. You have a little
bit of this and a little bit of that and at the end, you have a finished
Choosing to live in the East Bay has offered
continual painting inspiration. The superb California light, the magnificent bay
views, the lush gardens and the unique architecture have provided a stimulating
palette for this artist.
Barbara loves to draw houses so if you would like
a fabulous watercolor or sketch of your home, you may reach Barbara at
510-527-7830, email her at email@example.com visit her website at
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