Dark Clouds, Lightning, Hail, Rain, and other stormy weather adjectives..
...have found their way into my studio. After spending three months in Europe this past summer, where I probably saw more rain that I have seen over the last five years living in Arizona, I've been hooked on storms.
From tornadoes to thunder storms to clouds dancing over mountains - the colors, mood and music of thunder has started to find its way into some new paintings and drawing. Working with new mediums like graphite powder, and a more limited tinted palette, I'm very excited about the abstract direction these are going. I have a feeling these stormy paintings are the beginning of a few new collections on thunder storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes.
Here is some stormy new work:
Over the last six months, I've been inspired by some explosions...
Volcanoes in all their statuses - Active (Hawaii), Dormant (Mt. Vesuvius) or Extinct (Sunset Crater, Arizona).... and forms Shield (Hawaii again), Stratovolcanoes (Mt. St. Helens), and Caldera (Yellowstone)... and even subglacial volcanoes, submarine volcanoes, hotspots, lava domes... bascially any physical moment where a break in the crust allows for gases, lava, and ash to spew out into a beautiful explosion - has become my muse.
After reading dozens of books on volcanology, following amazing photographers like Brad Lewis, and watching YouTube videos of exploding volcanoes every night... the series on volcanoes began.
This series explores the mystery of volcanoes and how these amazing geophysical disasters are essentially our planet's heart beating.
I began this series with abstract paintings that captured the vibrant colors associated with volcanic eruptions - reds, blacks, grays, yellows (sulfur), etc...
But I also wanted to capture the explosive feeling Volcanoes have, and still keep the essential beauty of the cataclysmic event. Volcanoes, although destructive, are one of the most beautiful spontaneous natural occurring events on our planet.
So, I added a little texture to the mix...
Although the textures, colors, and even the action of the brush strokes made the volcanoes feel "alive," my paintings still weren't "active" enough. I wanted the active volcanoes to pour out lava, and feel like you are there - or at least feel like you are in front of them in some kind of reality where volcanoes are exploding in highly saturated colors.
So I thought, what about making the paintings on a different colored canvas? Would that make them 'Pop'?
So while discussing my dilemma with a friend of mine, and in the same conversation sharing with her my 3D DNA painting, she inspired me with the idea that what if the volcanoes were 3D? By using science (3D Glasses), I can make my paintings 'explode' -- at least when viewed through the glasses. Unfortunately, there is no way to share this effect on the screen, unless of course someone is reading this with 3D glasses on...
But that's how Earth's Breathing Lung and Exploding Volcano came to become 3D - adding a little science into more than just the inspiration. And how I got the paintings to finally become 'awake.' At least in a real life experience.
I'm still working on some volcano paintings in my studio, mostly the landscapes of the extinct and dormant volcanoes. Perhaps though, I always will be working on a volcano painting - continuously inspired by the muse of Pele, or Vulcan - so this series, like most of my subjects, is still in the works. Though, current and future volcano paintings can be found here.
A couple of weeks ago, I opened my email to this:
Dear Stephanie Peters,
These paintings are so expressive and beautiful, filled with such movement!
I loved their choice of using a limited palette that reminded them of snowstorms, creating a "brrr" feeling.
It was such a wonderful surprise (and an honor) to see another class inspired by my work.
Perhaps, though, the bigger gift here for me, is to see the passion I put into my work finding it's way back to me through the work of others. These future artists shared with me something truly amazing - they reminded me of why I do this. I create to inspire... and somehow through the world of the internet, I got to help inspire beautiful paintings of snowstorms, more than 5000 miles away.
I hope it is the start of something big for them. I hope they continue painting, continue expressing themselves, continue to be creative, throughout their lives.
Oh they didn't just paint snowstorms, they painted tornadoes too, inspired by an artist named Shawn Selders.
How cool is that?
"Stephanie Peters - Healing after Disaster"
Awhile back, Hannah Crawford-Moody, an elementary school teacher in the UK, emailed me about a class project she did with her students. Their project was about Natural Disasters and they used my paintings on natural disasters as inspiration. The students used a mixture of paint and glue with string, sponges, spatulas, and their fingers to create the various textures and effects they wanted, in their paintings. The teacher was kind of enough to share with me a few of their amazing works of art hung up on the wall...
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.
It was incredible to receive this kind of response to my work, and is the reason artists do what they do -- to inspire creativity and feeling in others for generations to come. At least -- that's why I am here painting.