Artist Statement

Susan W. Trimingham

It is in my nature to do all that I can to make life more beautiful.  Making art helps me do that.  I want to represent the intervals in the natural world.  Those intervals, or in-between times full of quiet and solitude give me a chance to reflect. I hope that my paintings provide viewers with that same opportunity for pausing and reflecting.

I began working with oil pastels in the late 1990's after years of oil painting figurative pieces in the studio. I wanted a change. I wanted to be out by the ocean with views of the horizon. I concentrate on nature; sky, water, earth and what I was feeling at the moment I paused to observe. By going to the same place over and over I begin to notice the subtle changes in mood. The relationship becomes more informal and comfortable. I hope that my work invites others to enter this world and reflect on what it means to them.

When I go out, I try to capture the immediate effects of what I see and feel. I choose a spot and return many times. After choosing my view I photograph it for reference and then quickly block out key areas with white pastels using strokes that convey the feelings I am experiencing. Next I use colors to separate the sky, ocean and land. I use the movement and direction of the pastels to simultaneously convey my feelings and the movement of the waves, trees, grass, and cliffs. I work very quickly with acute absorption for this first part. For the details and adjustments, I go back to my studio where I can work without the wind and sun, or onlookers, to interrupt my concentration.

When I first started working with oil pastels I chose the color of my paper to suit the colors for cool foggy days and warm colors for sunny days. After a while I decided to mix it up and began to reverse the warm and cool, using warm colored paper for foggy days, and vice versa. Now I choose the colors by how I am feeling that day without any knowledge of the weather or conditions I will be experiencing. I strive to create pieces that show graceful movement, unexpected colors and my mood.