My name is Barbara Rockhold (aka Tomatogurl). When I first started showing in galleries, one gallery owner called me "Tomatogurl" because I used tomatoes in my symbolic paintings. The nickname stuck.
I grew up in a small town in the midwest. My grandmother was a locally well-known artist in Texas and I painted my first painting at the age of six while visiting her. She was a big influence in my life and since that first painting experience, I've been involved in a variety of creative pursuits.
My educational background is in the fields of art and psychology. I've been a co-owner of a graphic design business, a graphics instructor and graphic designer at Contra Costa College and an ad designer at The Daily Californian newspaper. I've also led art therapy groups at two locked psychiatric facilities.
I work primarily in the medium of acrylics, but also work occasionally in watercolors, oils, and mixed media. I've shown in numerous galleries in the bay area and was pleased to be juried into an exhibit of the Santa Fe Alchemical Society Art Salon. My work can regularly be seen in the Alameda Art Gallery. in Alameda, CA.
With my education in psychology and art, I love to combine the two in my Symbolic/Surrealist work. I believe in the healing power of art and I'm inspired by artists who have shared their souls with us through their art, such as Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, Magritte and Salvador Dalí.
To me, painting is a way of creatively expressing what’s going on inside...both in my mind and in my heart. Whether it’s an experience of beauty, of struggle, of love, or of pain, I hope to express that through my art. My goal is to have the viewer see and identify with the full range of feelings and emotions that life both offers and commands of us. We are creatures of contradictory experiences, not all light or all darkness...and that’s what makes life interesting. I hope to express an experience of transcendence of our situations and also to convey a sense of play and irony...to show that while life has its ups and down, we can appreciate the humor and mystery it gives us.
• BA, Psychology and Art, San Jose State University
• Community College Teaching Credential, Art and Design, UC Berkeley
• Co-owner of graphic design business, Graphics Nouveau, Richmond, CA
• Graphic Designer and Instructor, Contra Costa College, San Pablo, CA
• Ad Designer, The Daily Californian newspaper, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
• Graphic Designer/Photographer, The Mariner’s Log newspaper, Richmond, CA
• Arts and Crafts teacher, Harding Elementary School, El Cerrito, CA
• Art Therapist, VA Hospital, Palo Alto and El Dorado Guidance Center, San Jose, CA
• ARC Gallery, "Sacred and Profane" (online exhibit), San Francisco, CA 2016
• Expressions Gallery, "Life with Pets and Animals", Berkeley, CA 2016
• Pinole Artisans Gallery, "Elements and Layers", Pinole, CA 2016
• El Cerrito Library, "First Place Winners from ECAA Annual Show", El Cerrito, CA 2016
• DMV, "International Cultures", El Cerrito, CA 2016
• Sun Gallery, "Day of the Dead", Hayward, CA 2015
• Mira Vista Country Club, "ECAA Invitational", El Cerrito, CA 2015
• Alameda Art Gallery, "My Travels", Alameda, CA 2015
• San Pablo Art Gallery, "Well Seasoned", San Pablo, CA 2015
• El Cerrito Library, "Paws to Read", El Cerrito, CA 2014
• Payn's Stationery, "Flora and Fauna", Berkeley, CA 2014
• ARC Gallery, "Mayhem" (online exhibit), San Francisco, CA 2013
• Sun Gallery, "Anything Goes", Hayward, CA 2013
• Marvin Gardens Real Estate, "Florals", Kensington, CA 2013
• San Pablo Art Gallery, "Mandalas", San Pablo, CA 2013
• Expressions Gallery, "This Land is My Land", Berkeley, CA 2012
• Sun Gallery, "Wild, Wild, West", Hayward, CA 2012
• Solano Grill & Bar, "ECAA Invitational", Albany, CA 2012
• Alameda Art Gallery, "Spirit of the Southwest", Alameda, CA 2012
• Rengstorff House, "Painting a Model in Victorian Dress", Mountain View, CA 2012
• Alameda Art Gallery, “Mandala Series”, Alameda, CA 2011
• Cinema Place Gallery, “Out on a Whim”, Hayward, CA 2011
• Rengstorff House, “Fall Arts Festival”, Mountain View, CA 2011
• El Cerrito Library, “Novel Destination”, El Cerrito, CA 2011
• Santa Fe Alchemical Art Salon, “Enlightenment Through Experience”, Santa Fe, NM, 2010
• 2022 Bar and Gallery, "Obras Femininas", Oakland, CA 2010
• Diablo Valley College Library, "East Bay Artists Guild Exhibit", Pleasant Hill, CA 2010
• Frank Bette Center for the Arts, "Les Femmes et Fleurs", Alameda, CA 2010
• Glenn Gallery of Art, “My Funny Valentine”, El Cerrito, CA, 2010
• John Muir Medical Center, Juried Art Show, Walnut Creek, CA, 2009
• Frank Bette Center for the Arts, “StarStruck” Exhibit, Alameda, CA, 2009
• Eclectix Gallery, “Dementions: The Halloween Show”, El Cerrito, CA, 2009
• Frank Bette Center for the Arts, “You Are There” Exhibit, Alameda, CA, 2009
• Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, “Florals”, Kensington, CA, 2009
• Eclectix Gallery, “All Gurlz Show”, El Cerrito, CA, 2009