Becoming a Pandemic Painter
My aunt Therese Brodie was an artist/art teacher. When I was in junior high, I spent a summer at her farm in upstate New York. During those six weeks, she taught me to notice, to really "see" the environment. I was used to drawing "mushroom trees" but she helped me realize that trees were not brown trunks topped by green circles. She forced me to really look at tree bark and notice that it was grey, black, purple, green, brown, and a host of other colors. That summer left an impression on me.
Fast forward five decades. While most of my life was spent in the midwest, my husband Steve and I were lucky to be able to relocate four years ago to the central coast of California. It has been an amazing visual feast for me and my iphone 11 pro max. Many of my photographs focus on texture, pattern, and intricate details. I am trying to capture what needs to be noticed. I am trying to develop a particular point of view.
This part of California is home to many artists so it should not be a surprise that soon I became interested in translating the beauty of this land into paint. I have never painted, only taken photos, so this has been a challenge. Sometime mid-pandemic, I decided to take an online course in abstract painting from Tracy Verdugo. (Check her out at tracyverdugo.com.) Tracy's courses -- some free-- were invitations to explore without judgment. She told us to play, to freely express, and to take risks. A mistaken mark on a page is not a mistake, just an invitation to think about what will be the next mark. How will you use that "mistake?" I have since discovered other online inspirational communities and instructors. Would I be doing this if we were not forced to stay home and shelter in place? Probably not. This has definitely been a positive upside to this crazy year. During the pandemic months I signed up for as many free or low cost online art courses as I could find that focused on Abstract Expression. Louise Fletcher, artist in the UK, is one. Art2Life with Nick Wilton another. I have always struggled with drawing realistic pictures, so this was an easier on ramp for me into this new art form, guided by these wise artists.
Currently, I still continue to learn and experiment with new medium and sources of inspiration. While I have always been a teacher and continue to work on writing two crime thrillers, this painting obsession is a new outlet of expression for me. I am a learner at heart and always excited to learn and grow and try new things.
I invite you to enjoy browsing through my journey of expression. If you are interested in owning one of these, you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (My husband would love it if I found homes for some of the over 115 paintings I have churned out!) Otherwise just enjoy! You can also see many of my photos and some art on instagram. Look for bdillvarga...
Note: I have organized these by size of the painting. There currently are over a dozen pages, each one housing a different size painting. Most of these right now are done in acrylic on a quality watercolor weight paper (140 lb). Some have collage integrated in them. A few have charcoal or crayon marks here and there. I have also used Posca pens. None are matted, nor framed. I am beginning to try my hand at painting on stretched canvases (which could be hung on a wall without being framed) and will soon be painting on 12 x 12 birch wood panels. Most of these 115 are relatively small. The largest work is a canvas I am working on now that is 24 x 30 (not pictured here), but hopefully I'll get more comfortable with larger sizes in the future.
Thanks for joining me on my journey!