By Ryah Cooley
Sometimes Carma Coleman just lets her art take her whichever way the wind blows that day. So when the wind literally blew over her canvas in progress again and again, she decided to roll with it.
The 18-year-old Paso Robles multimedia artist was working outside creating the abstract piece that would become Morning Wind for the Paso Robles Art Association's latest show, In Motion, currently on display at Studios on the Park, when a particularly strong gust of wind knocked it over. The show curators asked local artists to take the exhilaration of movement—flying, skipping, spinning, coasting—and apply it to media like paintings, sculpture, ceramic, glass, collage, assemblage, photography, digital art, and mixed media. So Coleman took that gust of wind as a collaborative gesture, rather than a sign that she needed to start over.
"It fell twice, and I thought it looked cool," Coleman said. "I literally used motion to make that piece."
Morning Wind features a combination of acrylic paint and barbed wire wrapped around a canvas. The finished result almost looks like a ragged, warped wooden fence with bursts of red dripping down.
"I'm feelings-based with my pieces," Coleman said. "I'm a very sensitive person so it's like therapy in a way."
When Paso Robles artist Cathy Luther went out to the Chesebrough Farm pumpkin patch in October, she took 30 photos of an idyllic windmill, spinning about, that she happened upon. After working in the computer program Topaz to layer on the texture effect and add in dreamy, drifting clouds, one of those photos would become the piece, Wind In Motion. The end result looks a bit a the picture-perfect postcard.
"Digital enhances it more," Luther said of her work. "It's more of a clear shot."
While watercolor artist Alice Ronke lives in North County, she regularly takes trips just a bit south or north to spots like Cayucos, Morro Bay, and Moonstone Beach to be where the sand meets the water for inspiration.
"I love the ocean," Ronke said. "I go there to paint frequently. I sit on the beach and am inspired by the ocean and the people who come along."
Both waves and people are always moving. That very synergistic relationship led Ronke to paint pieces like Paddleboarding while hanging out at Cayucos beach. In her painting, a lone paddleboarder calmly navigates choppy waves while an orange sun beams brightly in the background. It could be either sunset or sunrise, but both man and waves move forward.
"The waves are in constant motion," Ronke said. "The paddleboarder can take advantage of that to propel himself forward."
When people look at Ronke's watercolor pieces, she hopes they see more than just pretty pictures. She wants them to experience the local area the way that she does.
"I try to capture the feeling that I have when I see beauty," Ronke said. "And I'll tell you, SLO County has a lot of beauty." Δ
Arts Writer Ryah Cooley likes it when things flow. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not so still life
The Paso Robles Art Association's latest show, In Motion, will be on display at Studios on the Park through Jan. 30. Visit studiosonthepark.org for more information.