Artist's Statement—Kathleen mentioned she had been doing fields in pastels as her part of our upcoming show. It seemed very freeing after my months of detail working on small oils for a book. I had taken a workshop in encaustics a few years ago and I loved the possibilities of floating wax colors over wood panels and watching them take on a life of their own.
We decided to call our collaboration “Fields of Color.” This allowed me to investigate creating abstract design that still suggested scenes. The idea of adding collage came to me when I noticed a bowl of colorful beach stones sitting in the studio. I worked on three or four pictures at a time.
The fun of working with encaustics is that you can make huge changes with a heat gun and a few more drops of colored wax. Very seldom do you create a gray or brown. Instead of mixing, the colors tend to dance next to each other in a constantly changing pattern that can be both delightful and frustating at the same time. It is hard to stop. You are sure the perfect design is just seconds away. As this description suggests, I love investigating different mediums. They frequently have their own story and I try to work within the suggestions they make.
Artist's Statement—As I start to think about what I have been working on for the last year or so, I realize that the images of fields, whether they are just plowed, full of corn, grass, wheat or have been left to go wild are what have been around me all of my life. I grew up on a farm in southern Fauquier County and have always been aware of the condition of the land that surrounds me. It may be a field that has gone fallow with scrub bushes and overgrown with brush, or rows of new corn coming up in the spring. It may be the softly blowing tops of wheat that attracts my attention or hay that has been put into windrows drying out and waiting to be baled. The colors of these fields in various seasons are amazing because it could be the golden hue of ripe soy beans, the mild gray green of a field of clover or a field of wild purple weeds that I find interesting. It could be a dark cloud coming across the field or the way the sun strikes the top edges of corn tassels and green so green that if I ever found that color in my paint box no one would ever believe that it could possibly be real.
Now that I am retired and drive around the state for various reasons, I find that I am attracted to these fields but observe them and think of them in terms of light, color, texture and form. I have tried to interpret these fields in a manner that might make a statement about me and my love of the land and my connection to the land in Virginia. My images come from photos, working on site, memory and imagination. I have tried to describe these fields in a variety of weather conditions, times of day and states of change from the flat fields of the Northern Neck to the rolling hills of our western counties. I have sometimes included the countryside beyond the field, or the ditch row in front of one, or paths and roads that cut through, or a pond that might lie in the middle to create variety and interest in the composition.
It has been my intent and my vision to describe these fields as an expanse of land that is worked and reworked by consecutive generations of families or fields that may have been left alone to fend for themselves. As I live in an area whose fields at any given time might become a subdivision, I think it is important to make a personal record of what I have seen, remembered or imagined through my art. As I continue with this series, I have decided to use soft pastel as I feel that it is the medium that helps me best describe the story that is Color Fields.