A Portrait of Resilience

“Over the years, I have spent time exploring the Berkeley flatlands, painting the ever-changing urban landscape,” says Barbara Tapp. “After a long break from plein air, I ventured out again recently, looking for a subject that would speak to my soul.

“Once part of Berkeley’s proud Orchid Nurseries, the Pink House stands isolated but dignified, surrounded by empty lots. So far, the owners have won the battle to preserve the Victorian home in its current position; a sign in the upstairs window warns people (not so politely) to leave her alone — even as the threat of development laps at her cyclone fence.

“I had always wanted to paint the Pink House, and now was her moment — and mine. As an observer of life and a plein air painter, it’s my mission to look for scenes like this one. On this day, however, the Pink House chose me. A symbol of resilience, the building provided the perfect metaphor for how I was feeling on my first day out painting in so long. The time of day, the light, the presence of a modern-day muscle truck, all aligned at the right time for me to paint this portrait.”

“Pink House Stands Alone” (watercolor, 10 x 14 in.)

Paint along with Barbara Tapp as she breaks her process down to the basics, on Essential Techniques Day of Watercolor Live, January 23, 2024.

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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


  1. Dear Barbara, I was truly taken back by your painting. “Pink House Stands Alone” is so compelling. And I love it so much! The stars were aligned that day for you and her. Great Work!


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