Growing up in a suburb just outside of Chicago, Carolyn Emole gained experiences and lessons seen in her art today, with multiple layers highlighting aspects of her unique experience. Carolyn describes her work as ethereal, mystical and emotional. In her paintings, whether on wood, paper or canvas, she uses layers of translucent oil paint to create what some refer to as atmospheric environments, playing with color and gesture. The black and white charcoal flowers in her paintings are reminiscent of the black and white winters in the city, juxtaposed along with the warm rich tones of summer and autumn.
In Los Angeles, Carolyn attended the Santa Monica College of Design, Art & Architecture. There she studied with such nationally recognized artist’s as Peter Alexander, Laddie John Dill, George Herms, Debra Sussman and more. She then set off to explore the European lands of the masters, which expanded her voice and enriched her abstract forms. Carolyn now lives in Austin, TX where she continues to gain inspiration from her surroundings and her life.
Growing up as the youngest of six, Carolyn found solace in coloring and painting alone in her room, and listening to jazz music. Her father was a professional saxophone player and jazz music continues to be a great consolation for her when she works. In addition to music, Carolyn gives full credit to some of her influences from other artists, mainly Georgia O’Keeffe and Mark Rothko, which her work is reminiscent of, yet lighter and unique to her.
Carolyn will attest that as an abstract artist there are some misconceptions about her work. Some people assume it symbolizes the female & male body parts, and that abstract work is either shallow or easy – and Carolyn couldn’t disagree more. The one thing she would like her collectors to know about her art is that there’s much more to each piece than meets the eye and that her work comes from her emotions and not the human figure.
The highlight of her work is highly personal as she states, “My work is first and foremost about emotions. Emotions that are reflective of a time, a place, and/or a person. Of things gained and things lost. Color is the spark of the progression. Dreams filled with movement and visions of layers and forms. They all play themselves out to me. And when I embrace the canvas – these things are alive in me. The journey begins, into the future, into the past, yet they all breathe in the now.”
When asked about her advice that she would give to young artists just starting out now, she says, “You should learn everything you possibly can; to study, to read, to listen and ask questions. Then go lock yourself in a room and forget everything you’ve learned and just create and find your voice.” I think that is good advice. The debate over whether to get an MFA degree is one that won’t be solved anytime soon, and you’ll probably hear many different opinions on that question, but Carolyn does not believe it is necessary if what you really want to do is to sell your work and exhibit.
If there is one thing she wishes she had known in art school that she knows now, is not to listen to the skeptics and to continue to work, to create and surround herself with other artists. Carolyn’s goal as an artist is not much different from thousands of other artists, which is to be able to support her-self creating her work and to have at least one piece in a museum.
Carolyn’s work can be seen in hotels, corporations and private residences here in the US and abroad.
Painting Portland In a New Light
In the new series of urban landscapes by Portland based artist Tracy Leagjeld, her ability to capture the essence of a place is evident after the initial painterly style and colors draw the viewer in for a closer look. Leagjeld prefers to work in series, whether that be the outdoor landscapes of central Oregon, or the downtown streets of a large urban center. Tracy’s collectors are well aware of her beautiful outdoor nature-based landscapes, however I think this new series of urban landscapes will broaden her audience to a much more sophisticated understanding of her work. What most people don’t realize is that Tracy paints locations wherever she may be, including locations such as Mexico, Italy, and Napa Valley among others. After recently relocating to Portland from Bend Oregon, Tracy’s attraction to the contrast of light and dark and how it affects color is focused currently on the urban landscapes of the city, resulting in the new series.
Tracy comes from an artistic family with her mother and sister both painters, her son a professional photographer and her daughter an accomplished painter with an MFA. Like most artists, knowing when the painting is finished is not an easy task, but Tracy has learned to stop and sit back and return to the pieces later. She adds that they are usually done before she thinks they are, and if she keeps working on them, they would tend to be overworked and lose the looseness that is associated with her distinct style.
Fueling her passion for creativity is a compulsion to try to figure things out, to have to get it right, and that continues to motivate her to continue pursuing her art. “The beauty is,” she says, “I’ll never figure it out, so I expect I’ll be painting until I am very old.” When asked about her definition of success as an artist, she responds by saying that the true definition of success is when you don’t need the approval of anyone else and you have total faith in your own direction and vision.
If she was not an artist, the other career she could see herself doing she says would be a botanist or zoologist or some kind of scientist. As a native Oregonian, Tracy grew up with the ducks and geese and abundant nature all around us in the Pacific northwest. She had charts on her bedroom walls that she would use to track the survival rate of ducklings by different mothers and spent hours studying them. Her observations and interest in nature have undoubtedly enhanced her ability to really see her surroundings and have contributed to the richness of her work. One of my mentor teachers in college was the famous photorealist Robert Bechtle and he stressed over and over the importance of seeing and observing your surroundings and he had his students spend countless hours outside and inside drawing and painting, simply observing what we see. It was not until many years later that I came to understand his methods.
To see more of Tracy Leagjeld’s work, please visit:
Contemporary abstract painter Amy Royce is an artist embracing the ancient art of encaustic painting as well as new mediums, while continually striving for new ways to express herself with her art. Her work is luminous and colorful using layers upon layers of fused wax to create abstract portraits of the physical form and patterns of movement. “My art is a study of self identity using my language to explore universal ideas of communication, awareness and the emotional filtering which influences our perceptions of every interaction” says the artist.
The encaustic medium is an ancient art form from Greco Roman Egypt (circa 100 BC to A.D. 200). Some of these original works have been discovered intact many centuries later and artists are again rediscovering different ways of using beeswax and damar resins in contemporary ways.
Her work is very much influenced by the human figure, and she loves observing and drawing people, wondering what stories are beneath the surface of someone’s expressions and gestures that they develop throughout their lives. Her latest series is involved with distilling movements that are rooted in the shapes of the structures and movements to electrical impulses and cell patterns, but the viewer can take in the abstract shapes and colors and interpret them for themselves.
Amy felt compelled to pursue art as a career because it never felt like a choice, and derives deep satisfaction from it. Taking risks and relinquishing control through her art and going deep into her personal expression is a highly personal part of her process, describing her works as self-portraits. Like most artists, Amy finds the marketing and business aspect of being an artist sometimes challenging, but she remains very active within her local arts community and stays current with what is happening in the larger art world. She was recently awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado.
Always experimenting with different art mediums and forms, Amy is drawn to three-dimensional form and would like to pursue sculpture as part of her art. Travel and dancing / movement have both been very influential in her work as an artist, and is evident within her work. When asked what other career she could see herself doing, she replied “I love the life sciences, so I could see myself doing fieldwork in ecology or biology of some kind. I think the balance between left and right brain activities is important and I crave that balance. That’s why I choose typically more technically challenging mediums and find myself drawn to anatomy and movement. If I had musical talent I think it would be fantastic to be a singer or musician.”
Her advice to art students in college now would be to ask for more help from mentors and teachers who understand you and your art direction, and not to waste time with people who tell you that a career in art is fruitless. She says not to be afraid to take risks but arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible, and keep focused on your art and talk to many people about the realities of what it takes to get your art on the market so you can support yourself.
To see more work by Amy Royce:
Represented by Ozone Fine Art, Newport, OR