Obituary: Art teacher Barbara Dahl

The Blue Mountains Creative Arts community lost one of its pioneering artists recently with the passing of Barbara Dahl.

Barbara (Lipscomb) was born in Condobolin in July 1933 and developed a love of the arts at an early age. In 1950, she won two scholarships to study art at the National Art School in Darlinghurst where she trained to become a high school art teacher. After graduating, she started her teaching career in Parkes, Armidale and Inverell before returning to Sydney in 1959. While in Sydney, Barbara met, fell in love with and married the love of her life, Peter Dahl and they moved to Katoomba with their young son, Anthony, in 1961.

There, she continued her teaching career in various schools in the Blue Mountains area, including Springwood High. Barbara was well respected by fellow teachers and students alike and was always striving to encourage students, even those who were less talented, to have a try and give it a go.

In the early 1970s, Barbara and some of her associates saw the need to have a dedicated place in the Mountains where artists could work and promote their chosen talents, get together with like-minded people, foster new and upcoming artists, hold classes and small exhibitions. After an inaugural meeting in Glenbrook, the Blue Mountains Creative Arts Centre was formed and still thrives today after 45 years. Just recently, the centre presented awards dedicated to the founding members. Unfortunately, due to ill health, Barbara was unable to attend the presentation but was honoured to have one of the awards dedicated to her. She sent her best wishes and encouragement to all the entrants.

Barbara was also one of the original Friends of Braemar - a small, enthusiastic group of Mountains artists who lobbied to have Braemar, a lovely but dilapidated building in Springwood's town centre, restored and converted into an art gallery for community use. Many weekends were spent fundraising with market stalls, cake stalls and raffles promoting the benefits of restoring and utilising the grand old residence. Barbara was a respected artist, a great painter and weaver and she had many exhibitions at Braemar with husband Peter, who was an accomplished potter.

She also supported and encouraged other local artists. In 1988, Barbara retired from teaching and both Barbara and Peter continued to paint and do ceramics but slowly, their focus turned more towards spending time together, having short holidays overseas and around the NSW North Coast. They both enjoyed the different landscapes, natures colours and designs and saw beauty everywhere they went.

In 2017, Peter sadly passed away and with declining health, Barbara took up residence in Opal Endeavour Nursing Home in Springwood, where she continued to paint and draw when she got the opportunity. She was a much-loved friend to residents and staff alike and embraced her new home with the same colourful, loving, co-operative, easy going nature and witty sense of humour that she possessed all her life.

Barbara passed away peacefully on Monday, February 18, 2019, survived by her son, Anthony.