Bancroft Studio Tour


To hear Bancroft and Area Studio Tour (BAST) participant Barbara Allport talk about her early schooling, it wouldn’t seem that ending up in an artistic career was really ever in the cards for her. Growing up in midtown Toronto, the 30-year Dickie Lake (Saint Ola area) resident and painter attended a private public school and then a convent high school both of which provided zero art training/classes—something she emphasizes with a brandished circle of thumb and forefinger. And her early training and career had her working as a medical radiation technologist at Sick Kids Hospital, beginning in the early 1970s.

However, the societal and cultural changes that heralded the late 1960s—s manifested by the music and alternative lifestyles in the Yorkville area of T.O.— had influenced her on a very basic level. And after her early marriage to an auto mechanic who was involved in engine care for formula one race cars and that exotic culture (a career he abruptly dropped—getting himself a “straight” job in an office and starting golfing) resulted in her losing interest/connection with him and they divorced. These early experiences and insights were a catalyst for art-making that began with her studying with several “cloisonne” artists who trained her in the technique of creating designs on metal-covered vessels with coloured glass paste placed within enclosures made of copper or bronze wires—and burying herself in it for several years before her interest dried up and she abandoned the equipment and the art form.

She dabbled in acrylic landscapes for a short time in the mid to late ‘80s, but then abandoned all art-making for 10 years. But, following her move to the North Hastings area, she engaged in art training again, beginning with watercolour classes at the Haliburton Art School and studies in acrylic landscape painting with several artists in Stirling. And surfaced 10 years ago as a committed professional landscape painter focusing on a career that persists to this day. She credits her property on Dickie Lake and surrounding areas in this region for giving her the images of trees and rocks and water that inspire deep contemplation and artistic vision.

Beginning with local cafes in Coe Hill, Barbara began displaying her works; and was quite surprised at doing well with sales in such a small and rural market. She joined the artistic community at A Place For The Arts in Bancroft, displaying and selling her work. And added involvement in displays and juried shows at the Art Gallery of Bancroft.

Barbara Allport

And was engaged, for a 4-year stint, as president—an experience that she found quite enjoyable—meeting and working with gallery artists and volunteers and patrons—activities that kept her involved and focused. Also, her income-earning occupations: teaching meditation and yoga and treating clients with shiatsu massage are all very grounding and healing and focus-engendering callings. And early-on contributing factors to her artistic growth were extended visits in the 1980s to Japan where she taught shiatsu and reinforced her adopted Buddhist practice.

Find Barbara Allport—along with two other BAST painters at the Freddie Towe studio facility at 116 Hershell Road off South Baptiste Road. Her contact info:

(Profile writing and photo by Allan O’Marra)