By Brett Maternowski, Co-Founder of the Artistic Incubator
Elizabeth Barenis, an artist who embodies the tranquil essence of Tampa’s landscapes and the abstract language of beauty, has spent nearly two decades honing a style that invites onlookers into a realm of peacefulness. “I’m a painter who translates the beauty around us onto the canvas,” Barenis shares, giving voice to the often-unheard whispers of grandeur that permeate our daily lives.
Since her arrival in Tampa Bay in 2015, Barenis has woven herself into the fabric of the local art scene with gusto, taking every chance to integrate and exhibit her work. “What a great experience it has been to watch the appreciation for art here grow over the years!” she reflects, her enthusiasm a testament to the flourishing creative community she’s become a part of.
Art, for Barenis, was not a sudden calling but a persistent pull that she embraced wholeheartedly after exploring various paths. “Eventually I realized that my specialty is in the field of visual art, and all roads bring me back to this passion for creating,” she recalls, tracing her commitment back to the genesis of her journey in childhood.
For Barenis, painting is synonymous with home—a medium where the brush becomes an extension of her being. “Painting is ‘home’ for me because of its simplicity,” she states, expressing her preference for the tactile and timeless over the complexities of modern mediums.
Her work is a dance of abstracted shapes that flirt with the concept of beauty—a force universally acknowledged yet rarely celebrated. “We get wrapped up in the drama of life’s details,” Barenis observes, “and I’m here to abstract those details in a way that their presence is acknowledged but so that we also keep sight of the bigger picture of awe that is always seeking expression.”
The core of Barenis’s message is simple yet profound: “The feeling of awe that is often felt when observing beauty, is an emotion that can keep us in a loving world.” It’s a sentiment that resonates deeply in today’s climate, urging a collective embrace of the awe-inspiring.
Drawing from her childhood memories of the Mississippi Delta sunsets, Barenis’s art is a conduit for the beauty that prevailed even in the face of poverty. Her story is one of hope, supported by parents who nurtured her creative spirit.
Tampa Bay’s melting pot of cultures and scenic vistas offer an unending wellspring of inspiration for Barenis. “Simply living in a community that appreciates art is the best ingredient to keeping creativity and hope alive for an artist,” she asserts, attributing her creative vitality to the nurturing environment around her.
Her artistic voyage has not been without its challenges, likening her career to “the ocean’s tides, with ebbs and flows.” The greatest lesson has been to navigate the quieter periods with faith in the return of momentum.
Barenis gauges her success through audience engagement and the demand for her creations. “To feel that there is a demand for my art helps me to continue creating new work,” she says, defining success as a reciprocal exchange between artist and observer.
The artistic mindset for Barenis is more than a profession—it’s a way of life. “This profession is different from one where you clock out at five o’clock each day because I am always thinking about what my art is about and what type of project I will create next,” she explains, embracing the perpetual motion of creativity that shapes both her work and her personal evolution.
Barenis’s aspiration for her art is to foster a shift toward a more loving and accepting world, toward a higher consciousness. She sees Tampa’s diversity as a vital source of inspiration, contributing to a higher quality of life and artistic proliferation.
Acknowledging the community’s support, Barenis extends her gratitude to numerous local figures, including Richard Seidel and Elizabeth Brincklow, among others. She values the viewers’ interpretations of her art, eager to learn more about them through their perceptions of her work.
With exhibitions on the horizon and her participation in the Artistic Incubator, Barenis is excited about connecting with art enthusiasts and expanding her reach. To her fellow artists, she offers a mantra of perseverance: “Keep calm and paint on!” This phrase encapsulates her steady, undisturbed dedication to her craft, echoing the very serenity that characterizes her art.