Escape From Reality
It expresses a quality apart from any particular instance or material object. Although not for all art collectors, many will find something very personal within an abstract painting which captures their heart. Maybe there is the center of the earth, a heavenly explosion or an inspiring idea slipped neatly within this unique visual experience. It takes a visionary skill to create a piece of imaginative art inviting all to explore. The slipping away from reality stimulates incredible ideas which, transferred onto the canvas, yield amazing results.
Jo Dye, an artist all her life, began as a child writing poems, stories and making pictures with any materials she could find. Painting in oils and acrylics, she describes her love of abstract collages as "Freedom!"
"There are no rules. I can simply explore the richness of color and textures. I strive not to paint the object, but the heart, emotion and meaning instead," she said. Jo, a Greenville native traveled extensively with her family and was always encouraged by her parents. Throughout her career as an artist for a large firm and gallery owner, she has studied all kinds of art, changing mediums periodically. Her scratchboard wildlife works were featured in many East Coast galleries and national shows, winning multiple awards. "The wonder of abstract is that it can speak to anyone and strike a harmonic chord in the eye of each beholder," she said. "It might be a combination of their own experiences viewed in the work that touches them."
"A piece of copper fell off our roof once, and became the basis on which an idea was formed for one of my paintings!" declared visual alchemist, Irene Williamson, who retired to Hilton Head in 1989. "It's something to put my energy into, and keeps my mind going to come up with an abstraction. I love the balance, color and design of collage work." Referred to as a visual alchemist because of her creations in mixed media pieces, Irene's works range from almost realistic to pure abstraction. Holding a BS in chemistry from Queens College in New York, Irene enjoyed a 17-year executive career with Avon Products while studying at NewYork's Art Students League. Of her more than 200 creations Irene emphasizes, "Each piece has to talk." In 2006, she gathered 13 artists who created "ArtBeyondTradition.com," a very successful show which returned this year to the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. Irene created a mixed media piece which won the 2007 Best in Show Award in the Society of Bluffton Artists' Annual Judged Show. "My work is a great outlet, release, especially since the death of my husband," she said. Irene encourages all artists, "Believe in yourself and do what feels right to you."
Her father, Joseph Jowaisas was a 30-year executive art director on Madison Avenue who designed the Arm and Hammer baking soda ad and Vickie Jourdan recalled, "I watched Dad work and was always interested in art, but was reprimanded for stepping outside the box!" she said. "I was creating collage pieces in high school and loved exploring texture, color and the feel of playing with different media." She continued this passion at the Parsons School of Design in New York City and embarked on a 15-year interior design career on the East and West coasts.
Having studied watercolor, pastel, and oil, Vickie discovered that her true love rested with mixed media. She says she may have nothing in mind when she begins, but "it evolves. Something steadily emerges and the feeling of excitement takes over. Suddenly, I feel, 'This is it!' I know people will see things in it and it will sell," she said. "I usually give my work generic names, so everyone can use their creative brain when viewing it. I start from nothing, yet push to create a pleasing color palate for others to enjoy. I just follow my instincts and still explore ways to push paint around."
Vickie, who has taught many workshops creates with music accompanying her and can finish several pieces in a couple of days. She encourages all aspiring artists to attend workshops to pick up different ideas to incorporate in their art. "Above all", she advises, "do not be discouraged."
All these fascinating artists agree that their work simply talks to them and lets them know when its completed. If not satisfied, sometimes they may simply remove a piece from the collage, and there is the beautiful finished product. Jo, Irene and Vickie's art can be seen at the Hilton Head Art League Gallery and the Society of Bluffton Artists Gallery. Each of these extraordinary artists creates her best with her imaginary skills. Often we are so enthralled with the obvious, we may overlook the mystery of the esoteric. A wonderful New Year... time to explore, experience and discover new horizons.