Barbara Hirst (1965) was born in a farming community near Winnipeg, Manitoba. She graduated from the University of Manitoba’s School of Art in 1987 where she studied with senior Canadian artist, Ivan Eyre and received the university gold medal for her drawing thesis. She has degrees in both Art therapy and Art Education. In 1989 she completed her Art Therapy dissertation on, “How Artists Overcome Creative Blocks” published in Buffalo, New York. Later she applied these techniques to classroom teaching strategies and presented her ideas at a conference on creativity in St. Petersburg, Russia.
While much of her time has been spent in the classroom, Barbara has always maintained a studio practice. Hirst has traveled and painted extensively in Ireland where she had an exhibition in 2008. At that time, a book was published in southwest Ireland which she illustrated for Irish poet, Bridget Moraine. Currently, she teaches Art History and Humanities Preparation at Bow Valley College in Calgary. She devotes the rest of her time to painting. Travels to England, Scotland, France and Italy have had a strong influence on her work which can be found in collections throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.