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Conversations with Bernadette Tibazi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bernadette Tibazi.

Hi Bernadette, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am a fine artist, I have been painting for more than 40 years. I came to LA in 1990 from Liverpool, England. I didn’t really have intentions to stay in Los Angeles but the way things worked out, I have been here since then. Raising my two boys on my own, I worked as a special education teacher for LAUSD for the past twenty-two years and continued to paint. I love the light here. It’s really special. I’m always enthralled at the way it bounces off everything and the shadows cast are stark. For the past five or six years, I have been working exclusively in watercolor, although I’m comfortable with any painting medium. I work from the figure and have drawn at lots of different studios all over the city over the past thirty years. The animation and movie industries have some influence on artists in this city and their approach to drawing from the figure. Which is very different from my approach. I also work outside. For several years now, I have been chronicling the subtle changes in the seasons in Los Angeles by painting urban trees in bloom. I usually sit on my fishing stool on the side of the road and paint. Sometimes I have to wait for buses or trucks to move so I can see my subject. There are moments of magic that happen when the sun strikes a particular tree at an angle. It’s always different and always fascinating.

I retired from teaching summer 2021. Currently, I am building a home in a Ford transit van. It is my intention to live nomadically for a period of time. I want to expand and paint shadows on snow, the Texas sky, the plains and the woods. So I will be embarking on ‘The Great American Watercolor Odyssey’ – as soon as I figure out how to build an electric solar system, put in a water pump and a heater, etc. Building a van is quite the process, but I’m beginning to enjoy solving all of the practical problems it throws at you.

I will be showing work at Super Fine Art Fair in Los Angeles October this year. In the meantime, you can see my work at @tibazi fine art. Thanks for stopping by. Take care.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The main obstacle for me has always been time. An artist needs time to be immersed in their work and this was always very difficult for me as I am a single mom and I worked full time as a special education teacher. This is one of the reasons I use watercolor. It is a fast and spontaneous medium. When I’m driving, I’m always looking for things I might want to paint – perhaps that’s why I have painted so many roadside trees! You can’t wait for inspiration you just have to commit to making your art practice a practice and try to work every day even for a few minutes.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am painter. I was at art college in the late 1970’s early 1980’s. There was a lot of experimental things going on at the time: people experimenting with installations, performance art, movies, etc. I wanted to learn everything I could about paint. I experimented with old master’s recipes, made painting mediums and grounds, made my own oil paint grinding pigments into oil and painted still lives, landscapes and worked from the figure.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
I have found support and collaboration from going to drawing workshops all over the city.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Instagram: @tibazifineart

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