Cover Artist Barbara Dunham

Art — the Mysterious Journey…

By Darlene Yeager-Torre, Art Editor


Barbara Dunham

Barbara Dunham is a collage artist but she hasn’t always worked in collage. Through the years, she has tried many media but was always left with a bit of angst by each — until she moved to Atlanta. There, she took a collage class and her creative world exploded.

Dunham immediately felt at ease with the tactile nature of tearing and gluing paper, as well as found objects and purchased materials. The results amazed her, so she sought out and studied with many respected collage and mixed-media instructors.

“Grandma’s Garden” by Barbara Dunham

In 2015, Dunham relocated to the Pensacola, Florida, area and found a vibrant local arts community. Now she is an artist member of Blue Morning Gallery in downtown Pensacola and also exhibits at Artel Gallery downtown.

This past May, she became a member of the Pensacola Branch, where she met Pen Woman Patricia Black-Gould, a writer. After knowing one another only a few months, they decided to combine Dunham’s art with a poem by Black-Gould. Spontaneously, Dunham suggested her black-and-white, abstract collage, “Escapes,” inspired by a New York tour-guide factoid that the age of buildings could be determined by the style of their fire escapes. Thus, a Pen Women collaboration was born.

When Dunham revealed “Escapes” and its genesis, everyone had a “goosebumps moment.” Unknown to Dunham, Black-Gould’s father was a fireman.


“Asian Sunset,” mixed media by Barbara Dunham

Artist’s Statement

“In my art, I don’t always know what I am searching for until I find it. The journey, the mystery, the spontaneity of putting the disparate pieces together, the intuitive process of letting the sum total of my knowledge and experience speak to me as I create — all the art I have ever made, seen, felt — all of this guides me along my path of exploration. 

Today, my art journal is filled with inspiration gleaned from all things external translated into collage/mixed media terms. The idea is then joined with the internal creativity to form the impressionist and abstract collages I produce.  My goal is to create with collage elements a visually elegant story that is mysterious and makes the viewer yearn to see through the layers to beneath the surface.”

Pensacola Branch Collaboration

Poet: Patricia Black-Gould

Artist: Barbara Dunham


The Fireman

By Patricia Black-Gould

My mother would wake us up at night, often very late.

She would pack us into the car, in our pajamas.

We would drive downtown, not stopping until the screech of the sirens

called to us and the heat from the red-orange flames warmed our chilled bodies.

I never understood how my mother knew where to go, each time,

but she always did back then, before computers, smart phones, or social media.

Guided only by love, she would find him amongst the others, my father, the fireman,

weighted down by his heavy coat and helmet, always covered in soot.

Ascending or descending the fire escape,

sometimes carrying a squirming child, other times, a lifeless body.

A hardened man, at times,

smoke-blackened rivered face, where tears or sadness mourned the losses.

A nod to us to say hello, no more.

He would work throughout the night, not stopping,

ascending and descending,

ascending and descending.

Before leaving, my mother would take hold of our small hands.

Neither the deafening sounds of the sirens, nor the heat of the red-orange flames

would stop us from praying for the last safe descent from the fire escape that night,

the one that would bring him home safely to us the next morning.


“Escapes” by Barbara Dunham