Barbara Rudolph is an oil painter who delights in imbuing her work with whimsy, humor and a story.

She has been interested in art for as long as she can remember, and after leaving her job in publishing, she began painting still lifes full time. For Barbara, painting is a source of pure joy and she strives to create pieces that evoke the same feeling for viewers. One way she does that is by capturing snapshots of happy moments that tell a story through the objects in the piece along with the small birds that can often be found in her pieces.

She began incorporating small birds in her work more than a decade ago and they’ve become popular among her collectors and almost a trademark of her work. For Barbara, the birds represent joy and her favorite thing is when one of her pieces can elicit a chuckle from a viewer.

How did you get started in art?
From the time I was really young, I always loved to draw. I can remember my grandmother bringing me pictures and saying, “Try to draw this if you can.” And I just always felt inspired. Then as I went through different grade levels I always was taking art and practicing. I was really into little detailed drawings, and it led to painting later on.

How has your art evolved over the years?
Right after college, I was working for a publishing company, and I was painting just about everything. If figurative was in style, I was painting figures. If florals were style, I was doing that. I made a good living doing that, but I really hadn’t honed in on what I wanted to do.

Later on, I left that job, and I started painting and doing a lot of still lifes. About 12 or 13 years ago, I started doing birds and art and putting them into little stories with my still lifes. I like finding fun positions that I can put them into in my paintings and help tell a little story with them. It’s really been a lot of fun.

How do you hope your art makes people feel?
I love it when people come in and take a closer look at my work and end up laughing a little bit. There’s usually a fun little story [behind the piece]. Sometimes the title will come first, and sometimes I’ll have the idea first and I’ll do the painting and then I’ll find the right title.

When I put the birds in it, it brings the still life alive. I’ve had a lot of fun, and it’s led to commissions.

What makes the Celebration of Fine Art unique?
It’s such a special show. It’s like a family. I think this is my 18th year. I can hardly believe it. It’s been amazing.

One of the things I really love the most is meeting the people, not just the artists. The artists are fabulous, and I’ve made some great friends here, but connecting with some of my clients over the years. Maybe they buy your painting or come back the following year and they’ll buy another one. We’ve formed this friendship. I keep in touch with so many of them. It’s just a wonderful feeling. And then to get to see your work in their home –– they’re usually super excited about it. That is a wonderful gift to me.