Color is the driving force behind my art. Of course, there have always been favorites that show up in my paintings, wardrobe, or even home decor. I have been forever captivated to visually absorb how one color plays against another. In 2015, deciding to take my energy away from applying to exhibits, shows and galleries, I instead set to steer my focus more deeply into the study of color, color theory, and the color wheel. In my studio, I often do small practice pieces to warm up my paint brushes and set daily objectives for my painting time. Choosing a color scheme, I began to create with a dominant hue. Finding its complimentary friend, I use that paint in a smaller proportion allowing its predecessor to hold its place of prominence. There are always surprises as these layers build along the way with collage, mark making, or typography that will peek through the layers giving depth and interest to the piece. These entice the viewer to look closer to discover the stories that lay beneath the surface. At times you might find a hidden message or numerology that holds significance in my soul. As any pigment enthusiast is prone to do, once in that creative zone I will pick up bits of unexpected colors to add spark and interest to the piece. It is this process that shares the surface with many surprises.
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As I completed working with my first choice of dominant color from the wheel, I moved to another one playing with paints, graphite, oil pastels, and collage to discover the idiosyncrasies of the next color scheme. Continuing this exploration working through the color spectrum built a cohesive body of work. This most recent collection was created on 300 lb. watercolor paper. Next the art was mounted onto black cradled wood panels to hang for display. I have to admit, when the pieces are viewed in order of the color spectrum, they make a pretty dynamic showing. Two years of intensive concentration and commitment to complete this research brought this artist great insight and understanding of the primary source of joy in my painting…color! Perhaps this series might progress into deeper practices following my bliss. The wheel holds many possibilities to create further with attention to experimentation using something that fills our world everywhere our eyes can see. It is no wonder I have a tendency to collect new paints and pigments that tend to overflow my tool box.
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Then there is my art-life…
People often have the preconceived notion that an artist lives a life of an elaborate evening at an Urban Chic gallery. All the beautiful people mingle through the space taking in the artwork on display under precision lighting. Overlapping conversations are heard as patrons share impressions of the colorful exhibit. Of course, there is the little black dress, perhaps a splash of wild color in her hair adorning the artist with her flute of champagne in hand. Lastly, the red dots appear on the title cards next to works of art determining a night of fabulous sales for the collectors who will carry home treasures to adorn their own abodes.
Then there is my art-life. Let’s get real! I create in a home studio that measures approximately 15x17 feet. It houses 2 easels for larger works as well as a tabletop easel on another work area. Cabinets hold a barrage of paints, brushes and assorted tools of the trade. A large collection of canvases in different stages of creation get stored wherever a place can be found, lined up like books on a shelf. Before I know it, supplies had encroached leaving me literally a narrow path from the door to one work table. As I try to maneuver through the obstacle course to find my creative mindset, all this peripheral clutter drives me into sensory overload. Then I know it’s time for the dreaded “cleaning of the studio”.
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As for the plethora of supplies that sit homeless in the hall or stuffed into other rooms, they will find a storage solution soon. But now I am content to light my candle, meditate, and then begin the artful process of creating. I need to feel paint on my hands against the textures of the canvas. This has been my current project though not the most glamorous of what I’d prefer to be producing. But it is a part of every artist’s process at one time or another.
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“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up…” —Pablo Picasso
In my biography I share the story of when I discovered the decision to follow my path as a professional artist. At four years old, the love of creating without concern of coloring in the lines, keeping the image in perfect perspective, or if I painted the sky green instead of blue were practices I gave no notion to. I created for the love of making something from nothing. To convey the thoughts held by my imagination into art was my pure purpose. It was fun! Art made me happy.
I came across this photograph of my granddaughter when she was about 4 years old. She always asks to paint with Nano. I see how she steps up to the easel with her focus to have fun! Kayla likes to paint abstractly. It comes to her naturally without her aware of it. Just pure play moving colors to canvas. Picasso’s quote came to mind as I relived that moment sharing studio space with her.
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Today I have moments known as “artists’ blocks”. I might stare at the white canvas trying to find intention to paint something, anything. It’s all that over-thinking getting in the way of allowing to create purely from our childlike imaginations and emotions causing us to hit this stand-still.
As we grow up, society’s rules dictate we do everything with the goal to always fit in. Stand in straight lines. Be practical. I was instructed to be left handed was wrong and forced to change using my right hand dominantly. With time came responsibilities. Most people fall into the trap that we must pursue traditional lifestyles in order to fit in like everyone else. In attempts to achieve what we think is necessary, we put aside those childhood dreams of what we wanted to express instead feeling like fitting the square peg in the round hole. We lost the innocence of that little girl in the sand box, climbing trees, or sitting on the floor with crayons and paper. Now, it’s time to go play, again!
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