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Blending Two Styles

I was recently asked by one of my collectors to join two of my previous styles into one work of art. The work was to be two panels of 24.5 x 59, and the two styles of work were very different.

 
 
"Love In Progress" My first painting ever.

"Love In Progress" My first painting ever.

 
"Forest of Inquiry 2015

"Forest of Inquiry 2015

 

One style was colorful, with lots of primaries in various shapes and forms, some in the shape of vines, flowers or small trees. This style is from "Love in Progress" (30x30 acrylic on canvas), and was my very first piece.

I started it somewhere around 2011 on a whim with markers and travel-size acrylics. Its was merely a creative and passive outlet. A thing kept in the closet except for once a month, maybe, while my husband and I watched TV.

It never had an easel, instead it laid across my lap, leaned against a couch arm, or sat on the floor with me in front of it. I never thought about the shapes, lines or form it was taking. I merely "played around".

Eventually life got too hectic and stressful for a casual night of fun doodling, and I didn't work on this canvas again until Jan 2013, when the sudden urge to paint hit me. At this point my husband and I had separated, and I'd moved into the home that belonged to my Dad, who'd recently passed.

Over the next few months I worked on that canvas, keeping my hands busy while my mind processed what I'd just been through. In 2011 when the painting started, I was living in NYC, kind of happily married, working, doodling and just doing my best to enjoy life. By 2013 I was gratefully divorced, on my own for the first time, unemployed, accepting the loss of my father, living in his house in my hometown, lonely, and trying to just get by.

I titled the piece "Love In Progress" because what I realized is that love is always shifting. If you're learning how to love- yourself, others, your lifestyle, your circumstances, or even your drive to change all of those things- you still have love. Its ever evolving.

The second style was from "Forest of Inquiry" which was created two and a half years after "Love in Progress". This painting is almost entirely latex, and its forest-like interpretation comes from the (at that time) unpredictable dripping of the latex onto the canvas. At that time I was relying heavily on the paints freedom to do as it wished and my enjoyment of the experimental nature of my practice to form the shapes and suggest the next step. There was no predictions or possible planning here. It was all flow and in the moment.

Taking these two styles, which had never been practiced for duplication, wasn't the challenge for me. It was in the combining of the two styles, and on a nearly impossible short deadline that made me nervous.

I have to say. I'm proud of the results, and that I was able to produce them within the timeline impresses me even more.

However, these pieces were stylistically not the right fit for the room we were making them for. So we opted for a new set (and a new timeline) that stuck to only to the "Love In Progress" style of free formed shapes and nature elements and bright colors. No drips.

My collectors are happy, I'm happy, and whoever ends up with these amazing combo pieces will also be delightfully happy, I'm sure. They'll own the first and only set of paintings to join two different styles, and time periods of my work into one.

The finished combo, which successfully combines the styles of "Love in Progress" and "Forest of Inquiry". Available for acquisition.

The finished combo, which successfully combines the styles of "Love in Progress" and "Forest of Inquiry". Available for acquisition.

The second set, nearly finished in the studio. Employing the "Love In Progress" style only. Currently in the collector's home.

The second set, nearly finished in the studio. Employing the "Love In Progress" style only. Currently in the collector's home.

The combo set, on display at The Mansion Inn in New Hope PA. Available for acquisition. 

The combo set, on display at The Mansion Inn in New Hope PA. Available for acquisition. 

Visiting My Old High School

When I walked these halls as a student I didn't know there was an art room. When I went back to visit one day as an adult, I was enthusiastically invited to not only meet the two fun and progressive art teachers, but to be the 2017 local artist at the regional art fair! All five ascending districts were to be present, and I was delighted to accept..

Delaware Valley Regional High

Art Fair 2017

FEATURED REGIONAL ARTIST ERIKA RACHEL

There was a table set up next to mine that had paper and pastel chalk for kids and parents. At one point, a little girl who'd been admiring my work came over and gave me a picture that very much mimicked one of my paintings. To say I was flatted was an understatement- I was moved. She used the same colors, and gave her drawing the same shape and flow as my work.

And then as if that wasn't enough, she came over again near the end of the fair and said "Here, this is you", I thought I misheard her, but she indeed meant it. She'd drawn a very accurate 8 year old's drawing of me. Earrings, long lashes, shirt collar, and blonde hair all in place. This time I was more than moved, I wanted to cry!

This little sweetheart inspired her older bother and younger sister, and by the end of the night I had a drawing from each of them. I asked that they each sign their beautiful work, and the portrait of me? Well it became my Facebook profile photo for almost 6 months. lol. 

 

I'm glad I participated. I know I inspired many young people there that day, and I'm grateful I was able to show them a style of work that I didn't even know existed till I was nearly 20.

Go Terriers! (Yes, that's really our mascot, lol)

Residency at Sourland Coffee, Pennington, NJ

I loved being the resident artist at Sourland. It was peaceful even when the place was full and people were so engaged in what I was creating. Certain weekends were advertised, other times my presence was a surprise for people to see when they walked in the door. I worked on 3 projects while there; a huge 4 panel commission, a piece inspired by a customer titled "I love your dress", and the prominent start of the Compatibility Series titled "Man Meets Woman".

The Container for Social Engagement

My friend and fellow artist, Leah Foster, brought her Barona Bus all the way from Dilly Texas to my sweet town of Milford NJ. She participated in a local fair while she was here, spreading the word of her goal to open a children's hospital in Botswana, followed by one of her famous Barona Bus pot luck parties! Everyone had a great time adding their bit of flair to the bus. Leah's next and final stop is the Queens Museum before heading back home.

While the bus was in my care I was invited to bring visitors on to add to the project. I was able to complete my seat of abstract art, and another local artist, Dustin Parent, brought his daughter on board for a little painting of her own.