This is the newest piece in my "Consciousness" series. With my abstract pieces I like the viewer to first connect to it in whatever way their nature chooses, then I offer a description if desired. I personally connect to abstract art through metaphors and other types of non-literal connections.
This image is derived from the image of a forrest that was then mirrored, turned upside down, and further adjusted. I thought that was particularly appropriate for a show titled Arraigada which means "rooted" in english. I also think that the use of trees and nature to create my over all composition ties in with the idea of consciousness because it is ever evolving and growing. Nature takes in whatever man-made objects or hurdles are put in it's way, it embraces it, and it grows on with that object or hurdle forever a part of it. There are many aspects of nature, and trees in particular, that connect metaphorically to my idea of consciousness.
This week our all female show titled Arraigada opens! Arraigada means "rooted" in spanish and it has become a descriptive word we (meaning Daniela Izaguirre, Carolyn Hepler-Smith, and I) use for women in our lives that are particularly "rooted" and special to us. We got some amazing submissions and the show is going to be fantastic. I finished my large piece a few weeks ago and it will be in the show. I will post photos once I get some good ones at the gallery. Its an interesting coincidence that so far all 3 of my paintings in my current series titled Consciousness are images based on trees and Carolyn suggested the title of the show be a spanish word for "rooted" without knowing that. The word describes the common threads in our work and it became the basic theme for the entire show.
So we are installing the show tonight (Wednesday) and the reception is Friday! I can't wait!
I recently finished a landscape commission and am currently working on two other commissions with a third in the works. One of my current commissions is also a landscape featuring the Eiffel Tower, the other is a design for a headstone that houses and displays an urn. It should be pretty interesting! That's a new challenge for me.
In regards to my own work, I have laid out the composition and am ready to start painting my next piece. Its 24"x72" and, like its predecessor, will have a black and white counterpart that is it's mirror image. I will post pics and a description at a later date when it is close to, or totally, finished.
I am also working on putting a show together. A lot is still up in the air and I will start to have a better grip on the plans once we find a place. The dates will depend on our locations' availabilities. So far the show will feature my friend Daniella and I, but we are talking to two other girls about joining us. We're leaning toward focusing on the feminine as a theme as all of our work is feminine in some aspect. It'll take some hard work but hopefully we get good dates, a good location, and can attract a decent crowd.
I got to interview Charles Williams who is an amazing landscape/seascape painter. Check out his work at http://cewpaintings.4ormat.com
Artist Interview with Charles Williams
What is your first memory of realizing when you wanted to become an artist?
By the time I was only 4 years old I enjoyed playing with Legos and by 2nd grade I began drawing Lego designs of imaginary cities and buildings and also copied some of the advertisements on Lego packaging. A few years later, while we were walking along Front Street in downtown Georgetown, my mother asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I pointed to the boats on the river and told her, “When I grow up, I want to paint those.”
How do you decide on your medium?
I decide on the medium mainly by determining the look I am trying to achieve in the finished artwork, or I might choose to experiment, but when I’m working on a study I usually use either watercolor or graphite for the easy flow and the freedom to make mistakes.
How do you make your decision on the scale of your work?
Imagining how the scale of a piece would affect me as the viewer helps me decide.
Do you work mostly from photographs?
Yes, I use several photographs as a reference for color, composition, etc and execute each part on panel.
When do you know your piece is done?
I stop when I realize that more detail will not improve the work and since that depends on my technical skill and the way I compose the piece, in theory, perhaps nothing is ever really 100% done.
How do you come up with ideas for your art?
Lately I am inspired by trips to the ocean, but my works are also my best effort to capture and express human emotions as I experience them.
If you get stuck for inspiration, what do you do?
Look at work by artists that I admire as well as by spending more time outside, especially near oceans, rivers, marshes and the beach.
Are there any artists that have influenced you? If so, in what way?
Andrew Wyeth – his book “Memory and Magic” is one of my favorites. His paintings are not just only beautifully executed, but each piece tells a story and captures you as if you were there. Andrew Wyeth’s work has been my benchmark for years and continues to inspire me to push myself to a higher level.
Chloe Early – her work inspires me because of her soulful and well executed expression of emotions and the narratives that she creates. I’m inspired by her skills and admire her for her boldness in paintings from color selection to striking composition choices.
Eric Zener - As an artist he influences me and his work always places me in, under or near water. Each piece is a moment in time. As an artist, his story is similar to mine, and I’m inspired to follow in his footsteps.
Kehinde Wiley – As artist and an educator his career has been an inspiration to me as well as his creative process. Although his work is completely different than what I would paint, the idea, the process and the story is what’s compelling, which is empowering for an African American artist like me.
Mary Whyte – I met her when I was in 8th grade and have been in love with her work ever since. As an artist, she is very humble and reflects the pure essence of grace by painting what she loves and to me that’s precious. Continuing to follow your own path, doing what you love and believing in that is what makes us as artists unique, and I find that in her.
How did you get your art out to the public?
By consistently researching opportunities for competition and display, for example in group shows and art fairs and by marketing my work to individual collectors and seeking commissions.
Do you have a gallery? How did you start a relationship with them?
Yes, Robert Lange Studios, 2 Queen Street, Charleston, SC
I started a relationship with them by visits to the gallery. After the owners became familiar with my work, they invited me to contribute and join their team of excellent artists.
What is the hardest thing about working with a gallery?
Keeping up with the requests for new work.
Did you always want to teach?
No, I was afraid that teaching would take up too much of my limited time, but as my desire to teach grew, I worked to find a balance.
What is the best part about teaching?
Inspiring others and helping to cultivate a strong passion for creating art, just as those who once inspired me to pursue a career in art.
Is there any advice you would give to a young artist starting out?
Develop a positive attitude about learning the business aspects of becoming a successful artist – learn to promote yourself and your art.
What do you see as a pitfall that young artists aren’t prepared for?
They aren’t prepared for the business side of being an artist.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
Being a full-time professional artist provides me with the satisfaction of following my passion, which means that I enjoy making other people happy by doing what I love to do.
I came across this idea from the show Touch, which I dont watch anymore but I still think this idea is very interesting and relates to my "spirituality" that I try to make a part of my work. I can look back and sometimes understand now why certain people were brought into my life. Also, believing that people are meant to come in your life for a reason, believing in fate, gives me great comfort when I struggle with people and situations; I just hold onto the belief that I'm never in the wrong place at the wrong time, nothing is pointless, and every moment is exactly what it is meant to be. Allowing myself to let go of control and plans is so freeing and has helped me to have experiences and gain understanding about things that I never thought I would.
An obvious example of all of this is my husband; he's in the military and we met online. If we hadn't both joined an online dating service, would we have ever met? According to the Red String of Fate, somehow we would have but it seems almost impossible; he was stationed an hour from where I lived, I was in art school and he in the military and we both rarely went out. However, I do know that we were both at the St.Patty's day parade downtown the year we met and may have walked by each other for all we know. The second thing that was unexpected was me marrying a military man. I grew up new DC and saw so many friends move away, couples get divorced, and Dads disappear for long periods of time. Suffice to say, I was determined to stay away from that life. I only started going on dates with military guys from the online dating service because I lived near two bases and they were some of the best options on the site (I obviously was not looking for anything serious). Then I met Kevin and the rest was history; it didn't feel like I had a choice but to become a part of that world because that's what marrying him meant and not marrying him was out of the question if I wanted to be at all happy. So I let go of my fear and preconceived notions and found a freedom in the lack of control and set plans. Life has always had a way of making face what I fear the most.
I found this branch of philosophy by doing an online quiz to figure out which philosopher you're like. It was silly but once I started reading about it, I realized that Stoicism is almost the same as my own personal ideas and "spirituality".
I had very strong ideas when I was younger about reaching for a "higher lever of consciousness" and being true to myself and my fate. I lost those ideas as I grew older and ran into issues dealing with my own personal demons which drove me further from who I truly am and who I want to be. Once I hit rock bottom and climbed back out of the rabbit hole, I realized that many of those ideas I had when I was younger were spot on and I looked back to them to start to guide myself in the right direction.
Now, my "spirituality" (for some reason I'm still not sure if I like that word... I haven't found the right word for what these ideas are to me) is something I rely on and want to put into my work because I'd like my work to relate to something bigger then me. I like art that is less specific (like narrative art... I understand it's importance but I have little interest in it), art that connects to something deeper within me and within the world. That is also one reason why I am drawn to abstract art; it has the ability to connect to broader, deeper parts of me and the world. Also because theres many was to see and interpret abstract art; the way I relate to it changes over time and with new experiences.