Conversations Through Art

(Artwork above: Tumalo Mural by Kris Cranston)

Five years ago, when I started painting full time, my studio door was closed as I worked because I was not confident with others persuasions and comments. Now I am happy to have visitors and hear what people feel and see in my art process.

In my house alone, not everyone likes all of my art. And actually, it’s even better because it stirs up questions and promotes conversations about what I am doing. The subject matter, color choice and technique are usually the hot topics. More than once my husband has saved me from using a bold and cold magenta, when a soft yellow was laid down very nicely, holding our attention much longer.

The conversations that come from a piece of art is essential to me as an artist, just as much as the composition and completion process that takes place. Talking with a complete stranger about a wild horse in a blue field is fun. Why is the field blue? How did you get that color? Any time I can make a personal connection with a viewer, it is good. We may start talking about art but finish comparing our travels and favorite foods. Connecting with people is an important part of living and art is an easy vehicle for me.

My fish and animal paintings came from a desire to show movement using raw shapes. I like suggesting parts of the animals rather than “drawing” with precision. This takes many sketches and layouts before I can paint. And my mixed media pieces, painted paper and tissue paper, give me the opportunity to experiment with depth and layers. This process has helped me to show more feelings in each piece.

My favorite part of painting is the use of color and getting to the point of near completion when I can let my brush fly a bit randomly. I greatly admire the “colorist” painters. I have been in workshops to learn from these talents and know that I will die trying to get the right shade and hue and in the right place. Gaining knowledge from others is part of the communication surrounding art and that brings depth to my life.

When I was teaching art at Tumalo Community School, one of my greatest accomplishments was helping students find their artistic confidence to start and complete a project. Many of the kids felt that they could not draw or paint a subject. After teaching a few basic skills and allowing practice they grew to see themselves as artists. They came into class with the intent to produce as an artist. In the process they also learned to talk about their art. Constructive criticism was the focus of our weekly critiques. There was a lot of unique work displayed and enjoyed. They felt empowered by their success, even after some failure.

It is important to keep art in the schools. There are many people who feel the same. They help and volunteer to keep a variety of artistic programs in many schools. I see grandparents offering their visions to help students draw and paint. Some parents provide their kids with sketch books and pencils, which helps them build a skill for life. Combining their original art with technology is an easy way to get different affects and will hold their interest. These are a few ideas to promote and enhance communication through art.

I love all aspects of the arts and especially like seeing and hearing so much of it around Bend and other parts of our country.

After all…Earth without art is just “ eh”.

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