Thursday, March 27, 2008

Playing Favorites: abstraction

Angela Rockett

I chose Red Journey because it was my very first purely abstract painting, and as such represents a big turning point in my art career. I had spent most of my life until then believing abstract art to not be real art. I had spent a lot of time studying and creating realistic art, even going so far as to get a masters degree in illustration. (Ironically, it was studying illustration that eventually lead to this breakthrough, but perhaps that is a story for another time.) But when I painted Red Journey - and I remember the entire process very clearly, from first inspiration to finished product, even though it was 7 years ago - it was almost as if I was a conduit for a larger creativity. I had never felt inspiration that strongly before, nor been so sure that the outcome was a true expression of my inner vision. And that has become my definition of real art - true expression, and I've been hooked on it ever since.

The longer and more regularly I practice my craft and the more I express the inspirations I receive (some more than others), the more favorite pieces I have. A more recent favorite, created just last month, Shadows of Morning II (and its predecessor Shadows of Morning I) was also created with a very strong and clear inspiration, and the outcome is also a true expression of my inner vision, much like the creation of Red Journey was.

Maralena Howard

When I was just a little girl in kindergarten, my mother bought me a new box of crayons. What made them so special was that I had graduated from the regular package of eight fat crayons to the older kid skinny crayons. These were the crayons for serious artists and had a lot more colors to choose from. I remember how excited I was to use them for the first time. On that particular day, my kindergarten teacher informed us that we were all going to color Poinsettias. I could hardly wait for her to get to me as she passed out the mimeographed copies of the beautiful Christmas flower. As soon as she set it down in front of me I opened up my new box of crayons and took out the prettiest blue I could find and began filling in the lined spaces with color. All of a sudden I heard the teacher yelling at me over my shoulder. “Who ever heard of a blue Poinsettia! Everyone knows that Poinsettia’s are red!” she said. She took my paper, crumpled it up in a ball, and threw it down in front of me. She told me to cross my arms and put my head down on the table and not show my face – and then took my new box of crayons and hit me on top of the head with them. All I remember was how sweaty my face was and that I was so afraid to even lift my face just a little to the side to breath. I remembered how my mother always told me to not ‘lay’ on my eyeglasses or I would bend them. (At 5 years old, I had crossed eyes and wore eyeglasses). I was so afraid I would break them. I worried about my new box of skinny crayons and thought that surely she broke them hitting me on the head as hard as she did. I was afraid my mother and father would be upset if they were broken and would also be mad at me for coloring the Poinsettia blue. But most of all – I felt sad that the teacher crumpled up my pretty blue flower.

I suppose that could have been the end of my fondness for the arts – but it was actually the beginning. Whenever I am asked, ‘Who was the one person who inspired you the most to become an artist?’ – I think about her. If it would not have been for her pointing out how wrong I was for coloring my Poinsettia blue – I probably would not be an artist today… and not just any artist… but one who embraces Abstract! I love the freedom to paint from within without thinking about the right or wrong in the worldly sense. I don’t like to feel restricted to the norm when it comes to color, shape or form. I am always in awe when I can do a piece and then step back and look at the end result in an entirely different way than I saw it while working on it. The piece will take on its own meaning and life when I allow myself to free flow.

The pieces I have selected are recent works. As you can see I use a lot of color (often unexpected combinations) and like to create small focal points within and surrounding each main piece. Each work has many stories for myself and also for the viewer. Most times our stories will be different – other times they remain just the same. We can make them up as we go and change them as often as we like. That is why I am so drawn to this type of work. The beauty is so deep, deeper than the eye can see.

These paintings were created using gesso, acrylic paints, and oil pastels with a matte finish. All are my original paintings 14x22.


David Castle

“Jewel People” 2005
watercolor on paper
22 x 30”

This painting has always “stuck” with me as one of my favorites (and, I’m glad that a personal friend of mine purchased it, so I actually get to visit it occasionally!). I painted this watercolor on a Fabriano paper that had a subtle linen texture to it which gave the finished painting a unique overall texture. This painting was from a series called “jewels” and I thought it looked like a group of people, hence the title. I’m usually a cool-color person and the colors I achieved in this painting instantly cool and calm me.

“Fossils in my Favorite Colors” 2006
watercolor on paper, mounted on stretched canvas
30 x 30”

This painting is truly painted in some of my favorite colors – metallic coppers, chromium green and indanthrone blue. The shapes were created with smooth beach stones from the Oregon coast, the largest shape being a 10 lb. stone (and the puddle of color in the stone’s impression on the paper took nearly 5 days to dry).


sf said...

I am CRAZY about these abstract pieces - did I say that loudly enough I'm ***CRAZY*** about them!!!

mcdc3s said...

I have been away from blogging for too long. My computer is up and running again. I see I will have a lot of catching up to do as far as checking out my list of blogs… and btw: I am going away for a week – leaving Friday. Will I ever catch up?

Thank you again for including me in this great project. I am going to take a whole evening to enjoy this fantastic show!