Barbara was raised in the atmosphere of the Californian outdoor landscape painters. Her father, Fred Grayson Sayre, was a charter member of the California Watercolor Society and co-founder with Joseph Kleitch of the Painters and Sculptors Club of Los Angeles. Barbara’s early travels with him to remote areas of the Southwest with the beautiful fairy tales he used to tell her have been her lifelong inspiration.
In 1947 she came to Taos, New Mexico, studied with Emil Bisttram, and married fellow art student Cliff F. Harmon. In 1950, they built their own adobe house and through many adventures in the primitive and often rigorous environment of New Mexico in those days, pursued their careers in art.
Associated with the five pioneer galleries of the Southwest, Barbara was in sales in the late 1940’s and early ’50’s at La Fonda Art Galley where Cliff was showing with the Taos Founders. She was a long time exhibitor at the Stables Gallery in Taos, Blair Galleries, Ltd. in Santa Fe, and the Baker Gallery in Lubbock Texas.
Her métier is fantasy, the World of Willderwish, which encompasses both a light hearted atmosphere and the mysteries of ancient bottles, bouquets, and muses in enchanted gardens. A highly imaginative quality also carries over into the paintings from her travels in Europe, the Near East, and Mexico as well as the portraiture of her friends and neighbors in Taos.
Biographies have appeared in New Mexico Magazine and American Artist Magazine, which defined her work as “Magic and Mastery.” Her paintings and original graphics are in the permanent collection of the Harwood Museum of the University of New Mexico, the Taos Art Museum and Fechin House, as well as other museums and a great number of private collections. She is listed in the Marquis Who’s Who of Art in America.
Her work was in the exhibition dedicated to the artists that attended Black Mountain College in 1950 and then the show, “Suspension of Disbelief” at the Harwood Museum. She was also honored with a 65 year retrospective exhibition of her work from 1947 to the present at the Blumenschein House of the Taos Historic Museums and received the Blumenschein Award for her lifetime contribution to the art and culture of New Mexico.