Building the “thing” from metal farm objects was an ambitious high school project that never came to fruition. Many years later after a diverse teaching career ranging from kindergarteners in California to working with Russian teachers as a Peace Corps volunteer, Shirley landed in Colonial Beach, Va., as an Innkeeper. She joined the Colonial Beach Artists Guild and took classes in acrylics and encaustics. However, the “thing” idea came back to her and she began collecting metal objects and started putting them together. There is no plan. Pieces just seem to go together; therefore, Accidental Art evolved.
I quickly apply the strokes of color with a natural movement and prefer that every mark is final. To me it is like taking dictation to a song already written. I like to take risks, letting only color walk me through my senses…experiencing the absolute power of this experience. I work mostly in watercolor and do sketches of people often to practice really seeing. Large mixed media abstracts are my favorite art form but do them less often. In all mediums I strive to express fusion of emotions and color harmony.
As a Washington D. C. native, I attended Corcoran School of Art in my teens and Maryland School of Art and Design in my 20s as well as NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College) in my 30s. Later I taught art in continuing education classes at the Sterling Virginia campus. I was the children’s instructor at Leesburg Academy of the Arts and taught many adult classes in drawing as well as watercolor there. I am past president and a founding member since 2003 of Colonial Beach Artists Guild in Colonial Beach, Va. I opened the first gallery in town inspiring many others to follow. I have helped Colonial Beach become an art mecca for artists, residents, and visitors.
Kathryn Murray, originally from New York, made her way to the Northern Neck 25 years ago via Washington DC. Throughout her adult life she has regularly been in contact with highly creative people and she believes “some of that rubbed off.”
In the last few years she has been exhibiting photography in the area, photography that focuses on the foggy, moody, almost-etheral moments she experiences - mostly on local rivers. It is sensitive work and shows a special feeling for light and nuances of color during early morning and late in the day.
A collage course taken three years ago at the Rappahannock Art League in Kilmarnock (with Rose Nygaard, a terrific colorist) triggered a new direction for this artist. The results are the abstract paintings exhibited here. These pieces are created by painting on tissue paper and mounting and sealing them either on canvas or on board. These are individual paintings and not collage. The tissue paper paintings come about through a kind of meditation at the end of the day. This quiet time allows her to wipe away all thoughts and to be in the moment. Many of the early pieces are entitled “Dancing with Color” for the work seems to evolve as a dance with color being joyfully experienced and applied.