Barb Benstein lives in Chicagoland and has been doing business in that area for over 27 years. Her love of art started at an early age and you could always find her sketching animals, especially horses. “My mom always said I was born with a crayon in my hand!”
Mostly self-taught, Barb specializes in pastel and oil paintings of people and pets, as well as homes, cars and landscapes. After working as a graphic artist for 10 years, she began painting full-time in 1993. In 2008 she began teaching art to 6 – 8 year olds at the Mainstreet Art Center in Lake Zurich, IL. “This is the age they need encouragement. It’s satisfying to see these young ‘Rembrandts’ grow as artists.” She now teaches art to teens and adults, as well as conducts workshops at the studio.
There is a story behind every commissioned piece Barb does. Many times she finds herself “caught up in the moment” when working on a painting. She thinks about why her client wants this painting done and puts those emotions into the painting. Having owned a horse for 28 years, Barb has a good idea of the attachments her clients have with their pets. That’s why it’s important to her to start with a good reference photo and take it to the next level with her painting. She wants to make sure she’s captured her subjects personality in each painting.
When Barb completes a portrait and shows it to her client for the first time, the emotional reaction she gets tells her she’s done her job well. That is what she loves most about painting portraits; being able to create something that has so much meaning for someone. When you love what you do, it isn’t just a job.