Working on my cellular paintings has led me to find some amazing artists, so I have decided to start a reoccuring series of blog posts featuring different artists that have been particularly inspiring.
My hope in doing this is to not only expose my readers to some new artworks and creators, but to also eventually begin a dialouge with other markers and to foster a community.
The first artist I would like to spotlight is Bruce Riley.
A process-driven artist, Riley starts his works without a preliminary sketch, allowing the piece to determine the outcome based on the materials before him.
His canvases are filled with layer after layer of poured paint and resin, creating breathtaking landscapes of nonrepresentational organic forms. Each piece can have as few as 10 distinct layers, and can be considered sculptural in it's weight and composition.
"Being in the eternity of the moment is the experience that most influences my life, art and ideas. The past and the future look to be human constructs. Everything is whole and present in the moment.(1)"
Among his' influences, Riley credits Eric Nuemann, Carl Jung, Esther Harding, Mircea Eliade, Joseph Campbell, and Krishnamurti (3). He often speaks of his' work being about Everything, all at once. "At the age of nineteen or twenty I had become aware of how fundamental the moment was to my existence. This awareness of the moment, not as an abstraction but in a more direct manner, is what I've been working on ever since. (3)"
“My approach is a bit ‘hands off’ compared to more traditional ways of applying paint. So I’ve gotten used to accidents. I’ll leave really ugly passages to dry that with a light glaze later become the most glowing part of a painting.(4)”
In the 80's, he began his spontaneous paintings and started finding more success; his style lost its figurative undertones and became more abstract. With his growing success, he was able to quit his day job working in galleries and could devote his full attention to his paintings. (3)
"My life is structured around spending time in the studio.(3)"
Check out my board on pintrest for more of Riley's work!
I look forward to when my children will start making art of their own. Child-created art has always been among my favorites.
There is an innocence and clarity found in their work; a refreshing sense of endless possibilities and adventure inspired by not knowing or needing to know.
For a few years, I organized and ran a nonprofit organization that offered free supplies and encouragement to anyone that was interested in creating art, and many of the participants were children under 12 years old.
They have a bravery when it comes to making art that many people lose once they get into the fifth or sixth grade. (Public education tends to strip children of their creative confidence, but that is another post entirely.)
Many artists have commented on and been quoted about art in reference to children, one of the most famous being Pablo Picasso. I would agree with his sentiment.
Creating Art is the purest form of creation, in my mind. The act of creating is one of the, if not The, most noble of pursuits, and children accomplish this with little to no pretense.
The world and the act of “growing up” batters individuals and strips them of their sense of wonder and excitement. Too often people talk of cynicism with pride, bragging about how much more they know now than before.
Artists aim for the opposite!
As an artist, even as an unacknowledged goal, one focuses on discovery and exploration. Within that context, they must be willing to Not Know, to search and create- outcomes be damned! That is why you will often hear artists talk about the Process being their main focus, rather than the end goal, the product.
The same goes for children! The point is using the materials and discovering the possibilities for both groups.
I remember as a child, around 10 or 11 years old, I was coloring with a younger cousin. She must have been around 5 or 6 and we were at her house, filling up pages in her coloring books. Her parents had obviously been working with her about staying in the lines and using the “correct” colors; she was timid and second guessing herself. I told her the lines were just suggestions and that she could use as many colors as she wanted, and in any combination she could think of!
Her parents overheard me and quickly corrected my sentiment. They told me that I was wrong and that I needed to focus on my own pages. The lines were not a suggestion and skies should only be colored blue, and grass green.
The event changed my view of them, and made me self conscious of my own drawing…
It took me a while of coloring privately to get over the initial shock of the reprimand.
But, thankfully, I was a stubborn young thing and didn't let their scolding deter me for long.
I knew I was right, even at age 10.
And now, as I am about to become a mother, I am so glad I did.
It was, without a doubt, the coloring book event that inspired me many years later to start offering a safespace for children and adults to create without judgement or instructions.
The point of creation is Possibility.
My latest work has been inspired by many things, from histology to construction manuals, microscopic images to my current focus of growing a baby!
Inspiration comes from unexpected places.
Find more on my Instagram.
Life, as seen as a paintbrush can take many forms as a metaphor. And, perhaps, I will recycle it in the future. But for now, my point is Confidence is Key.
When painting, if you are apprehensive and cautious, more often times than not, your efforts will appear muddled and uninspired.
Using confident strokes and passes produces Crisp lines and Brisk clear colors. Much like life!
And, which would you prefer? Crisp and Brisk, of course.
Those I most admire often throw caution to the wind and leave trepedation to the mice. Why then, would I allow anything else for myself?! And, why should you?
Be brave and determined in your actions. Do not allow self doubt to cloud your judgement or shaky lines to ruin your composition.
Paint swiftly and boldly.
You will not be disappointed with the results.
An Artist & Adventurer