HER HAND MOVES across the watercolor painting with a familiar intimacy, stroking the sand, caressing the single green maple leaf floating among autumn-hued leaves.
I notice her ring, how the orange oval stone mimics colors in the painting below her fingertips.
I notice, too, the same hue in the bracelet that wraps her wrist, like art wraps her soul.
Watercolorist Kathy Miller speaks with a mesmerizing passion about her art, of the “Leafscape” watercolor in her hands. Mosaic. Grains of sand. Muddied waters.
I cannot take my eyes off this vivid watercolor, created via multiple layers of painting. Let one layer dry, then add another layer. So different from the muted, dreamy tones of most watercolors.
From landscapes to florals to still lifes, Miller displayed samples of her watercolors inside Julie Free Heart’s Revisions upper level studio in the heart of downtown Northfield during the recent South Central Minnesota Studio ARTour.
Free Heart’s paintings prove a sharp contrast to Miller’s. Defined. Bold. Single subject. Colorful feathers that to my arts uneducated mind seem modern art.
There is a reason she paints feathers. The break-up of a long-time relationship. Feathers, actual feathers, floating before her at unexpected times, unexpected places. A sign that she was being carried, Free Heart says. She was meant to paint these bold, bright feathers, to celebrate, to be joyful.
After her marriage ended and not wanting to take back her maiden name, she chose the name Free Heart. It reflects who she is, she says. And I can see that. In her art. Hear that in her enthusiasm for painting these bold feathers, uniquely her own, uniquely carrying this artist on her journey through life and art.
Please check back for one final post from a downtown Northfield art studio.
© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling