|Shain LaBarge was seventeen when he first felt the compulsion of art. His instructor and mentor saw it as well. Immersing himself in a world of color, LaBarge captured things in his paintings not visible at first glance -- perhaps a figure, or a face within a face.
After learning the basic technical skills, LaBarge found the ideas of the academic world confining. Encouraged by his mentor to escape conformity and cement his own style, LaBarge left the academic world to travel across the country. At the age of twenty, his expeditions took him from his St. Louis home to places ranging from California to New Jersey.
Throughout his sojourn, LaBarge's art was hung in dozens of cafes and restaurants, as well as galleries. While he particularly enjoyed meeting people in the eclectic environment that cafes foster, it was his success in galleries that spurred the evolution of his work.
Primarily a portrait artist, LaBarge made a natural progression to painting animals. His most recent passion is abstract art. The common thread in LaBarge's work is his vibrant color and powerful composition which unite his vast range of media. He is equally comfortable producing large canvases of oil or acrylic, as well as mixed media, pastel and acrylic on paper.
A former Santa Fe local, LaBarge now makes his home in Arizona.
Painting is both my doorway to and my escape from the world. Either way, it takes me to a place where I belong.
My art attempts to conduct color through a variety of vehicles -- from oil pencil to pastel to paint. In a rainbow, the arrangement of color is always constant. Through art, I can free the colors to form their own pattern, making every finished piece always new.
I use many different tools, but it's the paintbrush that makes me feel more whole, more real. Painting fills me with a sense of accomplishment and release. In pensive moods, I seek the deliberate strokes and rich depth of oil. When I'm compelled to get something off my chest, I turn to the freedom and spontaneity that acrylic provides.
Ideas often come to me when I'm reading...the words on the page are suddenly obscured and replaced with images. Distant travels also inspire thoughts I need to express. In the course of painting, the subject often changes. It doesn't matter that I'm seldom sure what the final outcome will be. One way or the other, my quest is completed.