Meet our Gallery at Iona Artists: Summer 2016

July 19, 2016


Special Guest Artists Valerie Watson, painter, and Norma Brooks, folk artist, share their inspiration and creative processes. Enjoy their artworks on display in the Gallery at Iona through October 4, 2016.

Q: What is your artistic process?

Norma: I like colors. I like richness, and I like transformation — taking found options and finding ways to make them into something completely different or embellish what I have. I love to pair colors and patterns that you might not necessarily think go together. And, often, my projects don’t turn out the way that I had envisioned them. I’ve learned to appreciate those errors and mistakes. They are now the best parts.

Valerie: Since high school, I’ve been working in watercolor. And now I am over 60 years old, and it is still my best friend. I am inspired by spontaneous moments that are visually exciting for me to watch. It is unrehearsed, just life happening. I usually snap a photo so that I can see all the nuances. The lights and the darks are mapped out for me, and the photo gives me the details that made me interested in the subject in the first place. Watercolor can be frightening, but at this stage, I feel that I have an understanding of the medium. It’s learning to control it and then you can really dance on the paper.

Q: Has your process changed as you’ve aged?

Norma: It has changed. I feel freer; I can exhale and it’s ok. I don’t have to play it safe, and I don’t have to stay within the line. The more I create, the more I want to color outside the lines. Try something riskier, and that will make it more artistic and make it more me.

Valerie: I’ve been very consistent when it comes to my subjects. But, I do find myself looking for the next challenge in a different way. As an artist, I want to go into new territories. I want to make myself do stuff that leaves me sweating. I don’t just look for a subject now, I think, “Wow, what if I did this?”

Q: What do you hope to evoke from visitors with your exhibition in the Gallery?

Norma: Just a smile. Or a breathless “wow.” It is a gift to share my art with others, and if I can bring happiness to them, then I am successful.

Valerie: I hope that visitors will get the experience of seeing the evolution in my work. I have a few older pieces that reflected my daily life. They are narrower in subject because I hadn’t explored yet. My newer work is much looser. I hope visitors see where I started, and where I am now.