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October 8, 2015
FEATURE | The Stories Behind "Beauty Everywhere"

The Beauty Everywhere exhibit is a celebration of the spontaneous ways in which beauty naturally manifests itself in everyday life. Charlene Collins Freeman captures magical moments that are frequently so fleeting and preserves them as moments frozen in time. As you contemplate the beauty all around, take a moment to hear the artist's stories behind her current collection.

Original Classic Cafeteria

Original Classic CafeteriaThis painting is inspired by the “Original Classic Cafeteria” cafe in Pioneer Square, downtown Seattle. I am visually attracted to old signs, neon, and storefront reflections. To capture all the details that I find appealing, I shoot digital photographs focusing on the storefronts, the signs and the reflections of traffic and people passing by. When I review my photographs, I am drawn to where a person is looking in the reflection or where a car is frozen in one photo as compared to the next. I don’t worry too much about rules of design in choosing which photo to turn into a painting. Instead, I question which image is interesting enough to satisfy my interest for the entire process of painting it. Once I’ve chosen my photograph, I draw it on my watercolor surface in great detail. With a strong photograph and detailed drawing, I have a solid foundation on which to paint. This painting was a 2014 Finalist in the Landscape category of The Artist's Magazine 31st Annual Art Competition. I am further honored that this painting was selected for the annual publication of the year’s best watercolors, Splash 2015.

Second Cocktail

Second CocktailI painted a very similar painting to this, titled Cocktail years ago. It was just as large as this and when it was framed and boxed to send to a client, it was even larger. Still, it got “lost in the mail.” UPS paid the insurance on it but the client didn’t want his money back. He wanted me to paint the painting again. And so, I did. Thus, Second Cocktail, was painted and hand delivered to the client one year later. This is a reproduction of that second painting, printed on watercolor paper with archival inks. I love details and neon in particular draws me in visually. I like the challenge of learning how to make it glow in watercolor. It would be easy to let all the bottles and bar paraphernalia take over the painting but instead I chose to paint those details first, as the background to the main subject, which is the glowing “Cocktail” sign. I made the bottles softer in detail and more muted in color and slowly snuck up on the neon sign. There I dropped in strong color and used water to soften as the light pulled away from the sign and blended into the background. I often wonder where the first Cocktail is hanging. I am honored that this painting was selected for the annual publication of the year’s best watercolors, Splash 2015.

London Sweets London Sweets

This image is from a series of photographs I took in a posh department store’s restaurant in London. The displays of sweets were dazzling. I am visually intrigued by collections of objects, displays, and light reflections. I was instantly drawn to this display of sweets with its bold colors and crystal reflections. I don’t over think what I want to paint. When I see something that I have a strong emotional response to, that’s all I need to decide to paint it. In 2012 the Northwest Watercolor Society awarded this painting the President's Merit Award in the Waterworks Exhibit. This painting won the I am honored that this painting was selected for the annual publication of the year’s best watercolors, Splash 2017.

Wake Up in Siena

Wake Up in Siena

This painting was inspired by an early morning walk in Siena, Italy. I got up early to photograph the city as it was waking up (one of my favorite times to see places when I travel). As I turned the corner to wander down a cobblestone alley, I saw the vague silhouette of a man on a ladder attending to a light. The sunlight was streaming in dramatizing the shadows and earth tones from the old buildings lining the street. It was a perfect moment. Painting it has immortalized it for me and allows me to share with others the magic of everyday moments. Beauty is everywhere.

Cherry

CherryI started painting botanicals by following a course by Anna Mason. Apple A Day was the first of Anna’s lessons that I decided to paint large, instead of just in my sketchbook. I loved the scale of enlarging this subject and decided then that I should start painting more flowers, fruit and vegetables as large botanicals. I have always painted large paintings but the botanical tradition of leaving the background white was a big leap for me.The title Apple a Day is a nudge to myself to paint daily, whether in a sketchbook, teaching, learning from others, or creating larger than life paintings. Cherry is another fruit of this joyous labor - following the stylistic precedent started by Apple A Day.


Beauty Everywhere will be on display in our main gallery space until Friday, October 23, 2015.

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  • October 8, 2015

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