Friday, November 28, 2008

My Artist's Statement

Lift Me On Angel Wings
12" x 16"
Mixed media on board
I wrote my artist's statement for my recent Open Studio. I'll write up a report of the event soon.


Gathering and hanging art work that I created has been so interesting and informative, revealing just where I’ve been and hinting at the direction ahead. Seen together on the walls of my home this work from the past 4 years reflects my interests, both in the seen world and in the spiritual. There are works that tell a story of how I look at my environment as well as how I relate to God and his creation.

Artwork like the Pear series and the Flower Vases are practice pieces and yet are among my personal favorites because they are so much fun to make. It doesn’t matter if a line is right or if a shadow is off or if the color just isn’t very realistic. What matters is that I do them, that I get paint onto paper, and in this practice I grow. Like a pianist learning scales before she gets to the melody I paint my little practice pieces so that I will get to the place where I can paint whatever is waiting within me to be expressed. That’s what painting is to me… an expression of who I am and what I’m thinking about.

I started being an artist when I was four years old. My grandmother was teaching me to embroider and I insisted on making the flowers brown and the stems red… present things my own way. I grew to use embroidery to create fiberart, things that hung on the wall rather than pieces that were functional. I still remember the evening I saw embroidered art on display in a gallery setting and recognized that I knew how to make art even though I didn’t know how to use a paint brush. I studied with creative embroidery in London, England and stuck with using the threaded needle, art quilting, surface design, sewing, and pattern design until 1998 when I turned off my sewing machine, put away my embroidery hoops and leapt into fine art making, knowing that there were paintings deep within me that wanted to get out. I refined my drawing skills, took some painting classes, and practiced and practiced. I continue to work at learning by reading, watching DVDs, taking workshops and classes, and talking art with like-minded friends.

My favorite way of working is what I call collage painting. Several times each year I prepare papers to use in my work. I apply dye, ink, watercolor, thinned acrylics, to thin paper working with layers of color to create interesting collage papers that are uniquely mine. Then I collage these papers to heavy paper, canvas, or board and add paint as needed. It’s like my cooking…
I sort of follow recipes but mostly I wing it based on my past experience of what works together.

I love books, reading them and writing in them and I usually create my own sketchbook/art journals in which I make plans, journal about art and life, and often even create art on the pages. When we travel I take along a little sketchbook, paint and pens. Ask me about these journals because I love to share them.

I enjoy painting with acrylic paints. They are water-based and fairly non-toxic, unlike oil paints whose fumes I don’t much like in my home studio. Oil is fun to paint with; smearing buttery oil-based color around on canvas is so satisfying, but the cleanup isn’t as easy for me as with acrylics. I also like to use pastels, both dry and oil. Well, perhaps you’re on to me by now… I love to use anything that will help me put color on a surface, and the more color the better I like it. Many people paint with neutrals, but even when I start painting with umber, sienna, and other neutral colors it isn’t long until the piece has mysteriously turned red or orange. That’s just me. I like to paint happy.

Jo Reimer, November 21, 2008

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