It takes me to a different place

By Charles Kelleher Harris

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 7.30.05 PMGlenwood Barnes loves working with his hands. For the last 12 years he has worked creating beautiful custom made cabinetry.  But his craftsmanship with woodworking is only the beginning of Barnes creativity.  “When I was a kid I didn’t do to good in school,” Barnes said, “But I was creative.”  Barnes was born in Lancaster, South Carolina but raised primarily in Philadelphia. Barnes was one of 13 children.  In his late teens Barnes began taking art classes at a Philadelphia night school. It was there that his true talent blossomed.  Recognizing his skill, Barnes tried, unsuccessfully to garner attention for his work. Frustrated, Barnes put his brushes away for a very long time.  “I stopped,” Barnes recalled, “I lost interest.”  Meanwhile, Barnes and his wife of 25 years, Vernere, raised theirñ three children.  During the lull in his painting, Barnes began practicing Tai Chi and focused on woodworking.  After returning to Charlotte in the 1990s, his interest in painting was sparked anew.  While continuing to work in cabinetry with Metro Woodcrafter Inc, Barnes studied at Mint Hill Arts under Carlos Cotera.  Barnes subjects are often inspired by photographs he comes across in books or magazines. His inspirations are as vast as his methods; ranging from realism to surreal and from abstract to impressionism.  Recently Barnes has taken on commissioned projects.  “I thought it would be limiting and frustrating,” Barnes said, “But it’s not.”  At his small art studio inside Spotlight Performing Arts Academy, Barnes has a number of both finished paintings and works in progress.  “Some paintings go just like that,” Barnes said, “And some take longer. It changes.”  Barnes subjects vary from portraits to ãglittering landscapes. Barnes work has been acclaimed across the region. His work has appeared in the Town Hall, the Mint Hill BB&T branch, the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce, Irene’s Café and his works are also available in the newly opened home décor store The Looking Glass.  Barnes now finds himself painting whenever he has a chance.  “I paint on my breaks from work,” Barnes said, “It takes me to a different place. It relaxes me. It makes me feel good.”  Barnes said that he is eyeing early retirement so that he can dedicate himself full time to his work.  In the meantime he continues to dazzle residents with his work that can be seen in various locations throughout town.

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