Celebrating strength

Athletic portraits bring power to the Grand Staircase Gallery

By Mae Jacobson, Associate Editor

Former graphic designer and now portrait artist Barbara Trentalange rediscovered her passion for painting in 2010. A decade later, she has developed a distinct style that captures the coordinated movement and sheer power of athletes in action. Bold colors and artfully crafted shadows combine with splashes of paint that fly across the canvas to fuel Barbara’s portraiture with a dynamic sense of force inherent to competitive play.

Barbara, a WAC member, embarked on her current project after her daughter expressed dismay at the lack of female representation in some of her previous work. “She was 5 at the time and was unimpressed that there wasn’t any representation of female athletes,” Barbara recalls.

Her current female-focused work, “PNW Athletes,” celebrates the tireless commitment and talent of female athletes in the region. “I wanted to show my daughter that she is celebrated,” Barbara says. The series includes players from the Reign FC, dancers from Pacific Northwest Ballet, and velodrome cyclists. “When I saw the Grand Staircase Gallery at the WAC, I immediately thought my paintings would be an inspiration to all the young female athletes at the Club,” she says. 

Barbara’s installation in the Grand Staircase will include paintings from “PNW Athletes” and “Picture the Sounders,” her series centered on Seattle’s championship soccer team that was originally displayed at the Sounders’ clubhouse, The NINETY.

Barbara combines her graphic design sensibilities and fine artistic styling to create unique pieces. Her work has been displayed in solo shows around Seattle and featured in the Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, and Ballard art walks.

Barbara’s technique of pairing starkly rendered subjects against abstract backgrounds punctuates the grace, flow and speed of dancers, soccer players, swimmers, and more. She works mainly in large format, paints with acrylic, and is available for commissions of all kinds.

—Learn more about Barbara Trentalange at barbaratrentalange.com.

—Published in the March/April 2020 issue of WAC Magazine. Posted March 3, 2020. Updated July 11, 2020 (DM).

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