Trudie Schuyler Barreras
Trudie Schuyler Barreras, born Gertrude Louise Schuyler in 1939, was the first daughter of artists Ted and Lee Clarke Schuyler. Her first few months were spent in the patio apartments in what had originally been the Casa de Armijo in Old Town, Albuquerque. When she was three, the Schuylers moved to Gallup, New Mexico, where she remembers at least three separate domiciles – a unit in a motel that was renting long-term due to WWII gasoline rationing that limited tourism, a short stay with another family, and the “house on the hill” where grandparents Edwin and Louise Clarke lived with them. Trudie’s earliest memories include sketching trips out in the hills around Gallup with her parents, and incessantly drawing on paper bags and cardboard boxes. Her parents teasingly told her she was part of the cause of the paper shortage during the war.
Trudie drew constantly, and after the Schuylers resumed their residence in Albuquerque, she began going with Ted’s art classes on sketching trips during the summer when she was out of school. As it happens, one of Ted’s students was Trudie’s fourth grade teacher, and recounted that when Trudie had finished her schoolwork, she would occupy her time by drawing. Once when the principal visited the classroom and queried why the teacher allowed this, she pointed out that the regular work was completed, the activity was not disruptive, and why should the child’s creativity be challenged?
While attending Valley High School in Albuquerque from 1954 – 1957, Trudie was blessed to be able to take art classes with Frank Walker, an exceptionally good teacher as well as being an accomplished artist. During her senior year, she was one of two illustrators of the annual, an endeavor that took up most of the year. However, by the time she entered college in 1957, Trudie had decided that she didn’t have the “grit” to attempt to make a living as an artist, having observed through her childhood the extreme management skills her mother Lee had to develop in order to maintain a household on an artist’s income. Therefore she majored in Chemistry, only taking one art course from UNM professor Kenneth Adams, one of Ted’s favorite New Mexico painters. Of course, she continued to paint and draw, and as often as possible observed her parents at work.
Trudie married Ray Barreras in 1959, and their daughter Therese (Tish) and son Stephen were born in 1959 and 1961 respectively. There followed a move to graduate school in Michigan, where two more children, Lorna, born 1963, and Antonia, 1965, were added to their family. During the years from ’61 – ’66, Trudie completed an MS and Ray a PhD in Organic Chemistry. They then moved to Tuskegee, AL, where Ray taught full time in the Chemistry Department and Trudie did part time work teaching a science course for elementary school teachers. In 1969 the Barreras' adopted their fifth child, Carlos. During this time, due to family and job responsibilities, Trudie’s painting was sporadic, although she did a number of portraits and figure studies of students. At this time she learned to work in oils, and eventually decided that acrylics were easier and did just as well for what she wanted to portray.
In 1974 the family moved to Tsaile, AZ where Ray continued to teach full-time, and Trudie taught a course or two. She also purchased a horse, and due to the lovely scenery began to do a great deal more watercolor painting. In 1978 the entire family with the exception of Tish moved to Atlanta, GA. There, Trudie worked for an independent educational firm called Discovery Learning, Inc. until 1984. In the fall of that year, she began teaching Chemistry at Avondale High School in DeKalb County, GA, which continued until her retirement in 2003. Again, her painting was fairly steady, mostly occurring during the lovely spring and fall months when Georgia is at its most spectacular or on trips back to the Southwest. After Lee and Ted moved to Atlanta in 1987, Trudie enjoyed renewing her “studies” with her professional-artist parents. Since her retirement, however, she has gone into high gear, and currently works weekly with an art group. She has begun doing pastel portraits of pets and babies as an act of love for their “parents”, and has found this a most rewarding endeavor.