In 1951, Mr. Barnett visited the Southwest and was smitten by its grandeur of colors, shadings, and spectacular cloud formations. He also was captivated by the mystery and pageantry of the dances performed by the Pueblo Indians of northern New Mexico.
The visit forever influenced his work, which included rich, lively hues that often resembled a mosaic.
"I deliberately put color even where there is none," he once said. "That's the music. First, I create chaos, then I look for the order in it."
He often told his students that they could spend the rest of their lives painting the sky in the Southwest.
After that first visit, Mr. Barnett divided his time between New Mexico and his farmhouse studio in Broomall.
He produced works in a wide assortment of media: oil, charcoal, pen and ink, acrylic, bronze, watercolor, marble and lithography.
His illustrations appeared on covers and inside pages of the Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic, Readers' Digest, Life and American Heritage. He also produced illustrations for Random House and a series for Bantam Books.
Mr. Barnett thrived on commissions.
In the 1960s, he submitted 12 paintings on the life of Abraham Lincoln for the New York World's Fair, a project that permitted him to work with poet Carl Sandburg. The works now are owned by the Gettysburg Museum.
In 1982, he created a traveling mural of Washington at Valley Forge for Valley Forge National Historical Park. Also in the 1980s, he produced metallic designs on the history of Australia for the government of Australia.
For the Franklin Mint, Mr. Barnett created 50 medals for a chronology of the American Indian, 50 designs for the history of the Civil War, and commemorative cachets for the Northwest Indian Mask series.
His output generated numerous awards, which included several gold medals from art directors' clubs.
But it wasn't until 1996 that his first solo exhibition was held at a Philadelphia gallery, the Newman Gallery. Edward J. Sozanski, reviewing the show for The Inquirer, wrote that Barnett's New Mexico landscapes were "executed in pastel with unusual vibrancy."
Mr. Barnett was born in the upstate Pennsylvania coal fields of Carbondale, Lackawanna County. His family moved to Northeast Philadelphia when he was a child.
He graduated from Northeast High School in 1940, and studied at the Fleisher Art School and the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, now the University of the Arts.
He was drafted into the Army for World War II and served with the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions in Europe, earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star, his family said.
After his discharge, Mr. Barnett combined teaching at the Philadelphia Museum School and Moore College of Art with free-lance work.
Mr. Barnett is survived by his wife of 55 years, Annette Edelson Barnett; sons Ivan, Stephen and Andre; and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today at Temple Sholom, 55 N. Church Lane, Broomall. Burial will be in Haym Salomon Memorial Park, Phoenixville Pike, East Whiteland.
Dominic Sama's e-mail address is email@example.com.