Fine artist Mike Barr has one goal in mind when painting a new piece: to share “joy of place.” Specifically, Barr has his focus on Adelaide—his home and South Australia’s cosmopolitan capital city. With its coastal climate and eclectic landscape, Adelaide has proven to be a painter’s paradise for Barr, who specializes in rainy day street scenes. While all of his wet-weather depictions beautifully capture the moody atmosphere of the city on a stormy day, Late Rain – Waymouth Street is one particularly striking study.
Late Rain – Waymouth Street depicts a wet day on a busy road in the city’s center. While the foreground is almost photographic, the background is entirely impressionistic. Through Barr’s quick brushstrokes, blurred lines, and hazy washes of paint, the scene appears alive: as the rain pours, quick-moving pedestrians hide under their umbrellas and cars wait in a weather-induced traffic jam. You can almost hear the windshield wipers!
In addition to his signature impressionist style, Late Rain – Waymouth Street conveys another distinctive characteristic of Barr’s oeuvre: his use of light. Although the sky is grey and the scene is dark, Barr provides pops of color through luminous headlights and the blinking bulbs of traffic signals. He has a particular penchant for painting the light as it bounces off of the slippery sidewalk. “I enjoy the effects of shadow, light and reflection,” he explains on his blog. “Rain in the city may be seem negative on paper, yet it is a real-life drama that evokes both excitement and comfort when seen in a painting.”
You can see more of Barr's moody masterpieces below.