Artistic heart and hands: Dr Gosia Barley

Posted on 8th December 2020

Dr Gosia Barley and artwork

Dr Gosia Barley began with landscape photography around 10 years ago. “Being faced with multiple big white walls within the practices, I decided photography was a great medium for all people to enjoy,” she recalls.

“It is something that joins us all through what we see around us, or what engages us. In particular, I think we are so fortunate in WA with our beautiful landscapes. Even within Perth, there are so many iconic or beautiful images to capture.  

“As such, I developed a process of design, theming each practice with a geographic location and capturing images to highlight the local culture and beauty, custom creating the photography for the space on either print, canvas, aluminium or acrylic. For example, our Fremantle office has only imagery of Fremantle, whether it be port, yacht club or the iconic Esplanade.” 

Around two years ago, Gosia decided she would learn to paint. “I thought, if I could capture the landscape or image I would want to paint, perhaps I could use that as a basis for analysing the colours, textures and light, and try to replicate it,” she explains.  

“I have never had any painting classes and only worked out what I was meant to use by enquiring with the staff at the local, friendly Jacksons art supply store in Fremantle.” 

Gosia has so far painted three paintings, with the first on display in her study. “I was quite nervous to actually commit paint to canvas,” she admits. “Once I got going, I started to understand how to translate what I saw into colour selection, different brushstrokes, with different brush sizes. 

“For me, the only way I learnt was to break it down sequentially and problem solve. You assess what colours form the colour you are trying to create, or how the brush should work to create the texture. A big landscape is made of so many elements, it is overwhelming to begin with. If you analyse them down to the basics, you can start solving how to recreate it.  

Dr Gosia Barley and artwork

“My second painting, of our staff group on a camel ride at sunset in Broome, is actually in our Mindarie office, and the third one I painted for my husband and is in our home. It is of Yallingup; that rocky outcrop where the coffee cart often sits as you drive down to the main carpark. It was a beautiful sunset I had captured photographically to use as a basis for the painting. It took around seven months to complete around general life schedules. 

“I think, as we have always heard our predecessors talk about dentistry, it is truly an art and a science,” she adds. “Those that are drawn to it are visual, technical, problem solvers and love to create.”  

This article first appeared in the December 2020/January 2021 issue of the Western Articulator. To read the full story, click here.