The Elements and Directions are living energies that can help us. I started to understand this idea while living in India for a year and studying with several great sages including Satya Sai Baba, Suryananda, Akha, and others.

It was in the summer of 1996 that I first visited the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. I was invited to do a book signing for my cookbook, The Organic Gourmet, at the Natural Foods Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Concurrently, my friend and healer William Munro told me how much I would like the North Carolina Mountains and how nurturing it would be for me to live there.  I decided to tack on a little side trip to visit the mountains and see for myself.

I arrived in Little Switzerland, a small hamlet perched right on the crest of the ridge line, and rented a room at an inn. While sitting on a peaceful deck on a warm July afternoon, overlooking layers of mountains, I closed my eyes and decided to take a journey deep into this ancient land. After bringing my energy down into my feet and then feeling it flow into the Earth, I found myself going down a passageway, past craggy rocks and long roots, smelling the damp Earth and sensing more warmth the deeper I went.

Then ‘boom’ - I landed gently near some rather smooth rocks in what seemed a corridor. In front of me was a pair of huge stone doors. As I pressed on a door, it easily opened and I entered into a huge ancient cavern, warmly lit with walls of varying shades of coral. I sat down in the center of this spacious chamber and felt warmth emanating from the stone floor beneath me.

It was not too long before I began to feel the presence of other energies in the chamber. Looking around, I saw a group of twelve beings, filled with light, surrounding me with their loving presence. They gently spoke to me, and encouraged me to move from California to this ancient land; one of the oldest places on earth.

They told me their names were the Ancient Ones and they  lived here in the depths of the Appalachian Mountains.

When I went back to California it felt like there was a magnet in my heart. All I wanted to do was move to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. A few years later I did. I sold my home, said goodbye to family and friends, and arrived in December of 1999 to Little Switzerland. I have made my home and studio in this beautiful place on Earth. I have never regretted this major move to a place that fills my soul and nourishes my spirit.

Barbara Kahn
December, 2015

Artist Statement

It is the act of creativity that stirs me. To feel that special energy flowing as my hand moves with brush across a surface is the deepest feeling I know, whether it is painting the side of a building, a canvas or sketching a landscape. When I am finished painting for the day I am left with an exquisite sense of peace.

The theme of my work is to bring forth that which is mysterious, evocative, and lasting. I push myself to venture further into unknown areas — that opens my mind to new ways of seeing. Natural surroundings are close to my heart and I love sketching and photographing the flora, fauna and landscape; these images often come into my mind as I paint in my studio.

Sometimes when I am at a spot in nature something profoundly moves me. That moment will germinate in me until I start depicting it on canvas. Then the painting slowly evolves; the initial glimmer is there, but as layers are applied the surface becomes a place where nuances occur and I become the translator of dreams. As a result each painting teaches,touches, and inspires me.

It is my hope that my art affects others with inspiration, beauty and depth.


Born in New Jersey and raised in Newburgh, NY, Barbara exhibited artistic abilities at the early age of five and a few years later was tutored in painting weekly until graduating high school. She received a classical education at Rhode Island School of Design, and graduated with a BFA in Painting. Further studies include the European Honors Program in Italy and the Yale-Norfolk School of Music and Art. Her extensive travels in Europe, India and Mexico have greatly influenced her unique style of art.

Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums nationally and is in several private collections.