Featured artist Carol McIntyre paints mysteries and possibilities, through the open window theme of her work. See more from this fascinating painter by visiting her website.
Have you ever encountered one of those pesky 5-year olds who never stops asking, “Why? or “How?” They buzz like a persistent bee. I was one of those kids. In addition, I also had the uncanny ability to never miss anything visually. For example, if a family member moved or added something, I verbally noticed. Often I made seemingly odd observations about the world around me, soliciting raised eyebrows.
Curiosity has been a common thread and source of energy throughout my life and I carry it into my paintings. My current body of work entitled, “Windows Within a Window,” asks YOU, the viewer, questions. These paintings welcome you to different times and places — often to a space that is not known yet accessible to your imagination. The interplay of reality and fantasy, color and depth, shapes and texture creates what I call a “harmonic mystery.”
The open window has been a rich motif in the visual arts for centuries. Artists painted the window because it served as a metaphor for unfulfilled longing. Through the 1800’s, the window motif was usually painted from an interior, included people or the evidence of their presence and a romantic scene outside of the window. My windows are from various perspectives and often are nature’s windows. For example, a ‘window’ might be created by tree branches, rock formations or clouds. Sometimes I just add a little twist that sparks a memory or a question.
Windows pose curiosity. Their views offer possibilities inspiring multiple interpretations. Perhaps you will go beyond the surface to reveal something far deeper. Some people start telling me wonderful stories that come to mind, some cry, and others stand quietly and ponder whether to embrace both the very close and the faraway. All reactions are welcomed.
Another important theme in my work is my use of color. Before I begin a painting, I determine the color chord. Like a musician, I want my colors to play in tune within the key. It is motivating to hear viewers state, “I love your colors!” In addition, I gesso every panel or canvas with at least 3 layers using a large 8” palette knife; this is to create a subtle and organic texture underneath the entire painting and eliminates the mechanical pattern of canvas. This underlying texture adds to the sense of depth and mystery.
I work in oils and my favorite tool is the palette knife. My application is atypical, in that I apply very thin layers with the knife, often lightly scraping across the surface to create interesting and somewhat mysterious effects. Throughout the painting process, I go back and forth between my palette knives and brushes, using what seems appropriate at the time. Surprises often occur, which I always enjoy.
My art career officially began at the age of 36 when I unlocked the artistic vault that I had kept sealed for over 15 years. I traded my blue suits of corporate life in for an artist’s smock shortly after my late mother-in-law introduced me to watercolors in 1987.
The Twin Cities (MN) offered fine art education through their network of art centers, the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, and workshops instructed by nationally known artists. The regional watercolor society captured my heart. Hence, I served as President of the Minnesota Watercolor Society (1992-94). In 2004, I founded & curated the “Celebrate 22 Miles” exhibition held at The Edina Art Center; this show celebrated the significance of the Minnehaha Creek that runs through the Twin Cities.
In 1994, I added the medium of pencil, followed thereafter by pastels and then oils.
People often ask, “What inspires you?” The answer varies from painting to painting. Sometimes I see a window-like shape – such as the configuration of pinion tree branches – that I want to interpret and then I begin imagining what might interact well with it. Sometimes it can be an object, such as a wine glass or a chess piece. I then experiment with the environment and fantasy I want to create, fusing abstraction with realism and hopefully touching your heart and imagination.