I've traveled to some beautiful places over the last couple of years...
And along the way... I've met some interesting characters...
These encounters - maybe random, maybe intentional - have been unique, special and inspiring. To have the chance to really meet the personality that lives inside a Big Horn sheep that grazes inches away from you. To accidentally trip over a tortoise (hey it happens)... or to feed an ostrich and pet a Harris Hawk... all of them remind you that the spirit of life is beyond our little reality we define as society, culture, or humanity. We share this planet with incredible creatures, all great and small, and we forget that. Sure we remember the dogs and cats we feed, but when was the last time we shared space with the wild without fear? Fear - from them, or fear from us.
That's the source of thought and inspiration behind a new collection of pastel drawings I'm exhibiting at the Verde Brewing Company this spring. The exhibit opens March 3rd for their first Art & Beer dinner.
Here are some of the drawings...
Over the last month, my studio has looked like this...
And somehow... that's turning into this...
The process is quite obvious... smears of red and black, sketches of volcanoes and prepping canvases easily progress into wildlife drawings...
"Natural Disasters commemorates disasters and celebrates
I am delighted to share that my series of Natural Disasters was featured in the July issue of the Natural Hazard Observer. The Natural Hazard Observer is a bi-monthly magazine that covers the latest disaster issues, research, events, etc., published by the Natural Hazard Center at the University of Colorado - Denver. The July issue, called "Art and Disaster" looks at art in relationship to disasters, in terms of creative expression, as a pathway to healing and as a means for contributing to community. The article on my work discusses how my paintings commemorate disasters and celebrate the determination of healing and moving forward. To view the full article, read the current issue here.
Last month... I went to Colorado.
and had the privilege of encountering a herd of elk,
I was honored with the opportunity to do this:
Natural Hazard Center at the University of Colorado.
A couple of months ago, I received an email from Elke Weesjes, the editor of the Natural Hazard Observer, who discovered my Natural Disaster series online and wanted to feature them in an upcoming issue. After a few emails back and forth, she asked if I would participate as a speaker on the "Art & Culture in Disaster Recovery" panel at the 40th Annual Natural Hazard Conference and Workshop, in Broomfield, Colorado.
Over the first few days, I learned about Hydroclimatic extremes in the west, Canterbury earthquakes, and Wildfire Hazards from the perspective of environmental researchers in Australia. I met people who experienced the recent earthquake in Nepal and helped through the recovery process, and researchers exploring new ways to share the risks of living near disaster prone regions. I also spoke with scientists researching volcanoes, emergency management experts from all over the USA, and a few students who were open to learning just like I was.
Then it was my turn to share what I knew.
And, I learned from the audience that there were Natural Hazard specialists who were bringing art into their own work. They shared their projects that are geared towards bringing communities together to heal and recover with art.
I was told that this was the first time art in general, and its role in recovery, was addressed and discussed at the conference. It was an honor to be a part of the beginning of what I hope is a long conversation on the relationship art has with disasters, and how important art is to the future of science.
The week long experience left me inspired and intrigued by the many ways art can play in the research, resilience and mitigation of Natural Hazards. I came back to Arizona driven to continue to create art that expresses my experience and interest in Natural Disasters -- and filled with new directions that I hope will advocate my work to be used to continue the conversation that was started in Denver.
After I picked up some stretcher bars at a local art store, I stretched this beautiful brilliant blue canvas over the bars, and covered the canvas with Winsor Newton's clear gesso... I couldn't wait for the brillant blue surface to be dry and ready for my vibrant elephant.
Although Winsor Newton's clear gesso dries clear -- it also dries a little milky if you are slathering it all over a colored canvas... Slathering is the key word. I believe one coat would have worked fine, but in this case, the clear gesso did not dry clear and there was a coat of milky white... My vision of an elephant faded, and the canvas became a questionable experiment tossed off to the side.
Flash forward to July 2014... I was standing in front of large aquariums at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, watching kelp sway back and forth. Schools of sardines swirling in and out, pushing past rockfish, surf perches, and other common pacific coast fish that call Kelp forests home. If you have ever been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, you will understand what I'm talking about -- the magic awe of the great ocean is artificially created in those aquariums. If you haven't been, perhaps these photos may help illustrate what I experienced:
Back at the hotel room --- well, let's be honest, on the ride back to the hotel room as my boyfriend drove, I started sketching out what I had seen, drawing the images that had been burned into my memory. Images that fueled ideas, beauty and inspired my pencil to move. Like so...
I am excited to announce that "Winter Forest" will be a part of the "Seasons and Cycles" exhibit at the Herberger Theater from October 2nd 2015 to January 3rd 2016! The Herberger Theater is located at 222 E. Monroe, Phoenix AZ 85004. For more information about the exhibit, visit the Herberger Theater art gallery page.
There will be an opening reception on Friday October 2nd. Unfortunately -- or fortunately, I won't be attending as I will be in Page for the opening reception of my artist of the month exhibit at the Powell Museum.
Earlier this month, I found myself standing here...
....Right on the edge of Lake Powell, near Page, Arizona.
The drought crosses the orchards of California to the Colorado Plateau -- and beyond.
It is not just a southwest conversation, but a global concern.
A concern that I feel compelled to address in my art.
a conversation that will start something beyond words,
and into action.
Author Terry Pratchett once said, “Books must be treated with respect… because words have power. Bringing enough words together and they can bend space and time.” A moving statement to inspire anyone to respect books not only as important works of art but also value them as references for something bigger. In present day, as electronic books become more popular, the standard hardback becomes less important and fades out of use. Peters’ focused on the real truth— when eBooks begin to replace the popular novels, what happens to the novels that were once popular but no longer? What happens when literature is unable to stand the test of time, and the last copies end up in free bins? And no electronic version exists? Where does the art go?
I'm over joyed to announce that I will be the artist of the month at the Powell Museum, in Page, Arizona for the month of October. I will be sharing a collection of my charcoal drawings and paintings about wild fires in the Colorado Plateau. This is the first time I will be sharing this collection as a whole. For more information about the Powell Museum, visit their website.
There will be an opening reception on Friday October 2nd. More information will be available as the month approaches!
Water brings together seventeen emerging and established local Northern Arizona artists from a variety of mediums with one thing in common; they are all part of Flagstaff Arts Council’s ArtBox Institute’s inaugural class. The ArtBox Institute is a program sponsored by the Flagstaff Arts Council. The program is a nine-month journey that teaches artists the business side of being a successful artist. Branding and writing an artist statement, marketing and use of social media, developing a business plan and learning about insurance for artists are just some of the topics covered. With the program ending in late August, the exhibit at Firecreek coffee company is an opportunity for the artists to share their art with the public, many for the first time.
Not only was I so impressed by their use of texture, expression and shapes, the colors they used were dead on to capture the essence of disasters.
Stephanie Peters is originally from the Washington D.C. Area, and graduated from the University of Arizona in 2009 in Fine Art. She has previously exhibited in Tucson, Phoenix, New York and the Washington D.C. Area. In addition to being a mixed media artist, Peters runs her own graphic/web design business, Speters Designs, and is the Executive Director of White Hills Gallery.
Last year, she was selected along with 24 other artists to be a part of Verde Valley Land Preservation’s ‘A River Runs Thru Us,’ a traveling exhibit about the Verde River that is currently on display in Phoenix at the Executive Tower Governor’s office.
Author: Stephanie Peters
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