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INSIDE the ABSTRACT, post #15

"There is a reason your mind takes you to these places, take a minute to find out why..." Maryann DellaRocco

What attracted you to the 7th Annual Abstract call? I was excited to see a call specifically for abstracts. Abstracts are often overlooked in calls and it was an interesting find. When I did some research I saw that this show had been going on for a while now and was very well received. I was really refreshing to see a love for abstraction that was so long lived.

Does the idea of transformation influence your work and process? I think the idea of distortion is my biggest influence. I guess that is a type of transformation. Almost everything I produce is a form of distortion. I love how stretching, curving, making softer, changes things. Being a colored pencil artist means I can’t work fast. The amount of time it takes to cover a piece of paper with a pencil point is in its nature, a long time. But it transforms me during that time. It is meditative. A lot of time the paper and pencil will draw forth a pattern that was hidden in the paper all along. I let it come. Often if you look closely at my work you will see these little patterns in small sections of my work. I didn’t put them there, they appeared on their own. I search for them. They are truly my favorite parts of my work.

What draws you to the medium you chose? I love the translucent nature of colored pencils. My work is all about light, water, and distortion. The thing that makes colored pencil so wonderful to work with is that translucent nature, because color mixing is done directly on the paper. There is no premixing of colors, everything is dependent upon what was layered below it. Colored Pencil is also about control,which I both love for how it can render details and I want to rally against in a hopes of making it a freeing medium, which is not in its nature. Tell us a little about your process (I don’t believe in giving it all away).   I start with tons of reference photos of those things I love most, flowers, liquid, and light. Then I decide on which type of support I want, paper or drafting film. Paper is wonderful if I want a quiet, darkness in which to show the light I like to capture, while drafting film is better suited to bright, direct light, as drafting film itself is translucent and allows light to pass through it. What are the strengths of the medium?  What are the challenges? Colored Pencil is amazing for rendering detail. Many CP artists are unbelievable realist, although I like to push it outside of that typical box and create abstracts. Colored Pencil is translucent and allows you to build color directly on the support, unlike many other mediums. But because you are quite literally covering every inch of paper with a pencil point, usually many times over to create the depth of color necessary to render the piece the way you want it, colored pencil takes a very long time to complete. I like to render the whole piece in sepia colored pencil first, then lay color over that, to create my depth. This method can take weeks to months to complete a piece. Do you work in other modes of expression? Although Colored Pencil is my favorite medium I do dabble in acrylics and sometimes oils. Oddly enough when working in other mediums I tend to work more representationally.

What do you do to get inspired? I take tons of reference photos. Then when I am looking for a new piece to work on, I look at them, and decide what I want to express, and how I want to express it. Usually it works, but sometimes, oh my, it really doesn’t. If you could have coffee or tea with any artist who would you pick? What would you have coffee or tea? What would you ask that artist? I don’t have a particular artist, because there are so many that are amazing, or revolutionary. I would most definitely choose coffee. I love coffee. But I think I would have the same question for most. How did you achieve that freeing moment and capture it? I am so drawn to movement in work, so capturing that in a still image, it magic. What do you hope your work achieves? I hope my work takes people to a happy place. Especially in today’s environment, where we are so worried and unsure. I want my work to bring joy, to take you someplace safe if that is what you need, someplace joyous, someplace magical. If you could produce any type of work, would you choose something different? I think my work is exactly where I am supposed to be today. It reflects me and what I want to bring to the world. I want to make people work a little to get something from my pieces, I don’t want to supply them with everything. My work should have a little bit of mystery to it. That is why I love the darks in my work as much as I love the lights and bright colors. The darks add mystery. Without the darks there is no light,right?

What recently made you smile? My children. My youngest, he is 10 right now, has such a dry sense of humor. When his wit comes out you can’t help but see the acerbic side which I am drawn to. My boys are just funny.

What recently made you cry? It is funny, as I have gotten older, I don’t cry over personal stuff as much. My father taught me that all those peaks and valleys that seem so high or low while you are in them,well they are really just bumps in a very long road. So, I haven’t cried over that sort of thing in a long time, but I am a sucker for touching stories online. With COVID-19 I have seen a lot of people do really simple things that mean a lot. One little boy missed out on his birthday party so his friends and family got together, as much as they could given social distancing, and did a drive by parade for him. They played music, stood up through the sunroofs of their cars, rode their bikes, etc. by his house. He was so excited. That made me cry. I really am a big sap. If you could tell your viewers one thing, what would you tell them? I would ask them to step into my work and allow it to take their minds someplace else. There is a reason your mind takes you to these places, take a minute to find out why.

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