Bursting with color and bold forms, Sheila Grabarsky’s abstract paintings virtually swirl and dance on the canvas. To see more of her art, visit her website.
My goal is to share the happiness I feel at the relatively new freedom in my life to create full time! One has only to click on the retrospective page on my website to see how dark and utterly foreboding my paintings were in the past.
I spent years working an office day job. I had limited hours to do my life’s work and fulfill my soul in my studio. My life today is filled with much light, colors and gratitude for the hours to be creating. How thrilling it is to hear a viewer tell me that my work makes them feel happy. It means I’ve accomplished what I wanted to convey.
It might seem hard to believe as my paintings are so complex, but I am always trying to simplify my artwork. That’s difficult for me. I see life as very complicated and that viewpoint comes through my brush. I have a strong need to play with all the colors, textures, media and brushes, layering and mixing and dancing with the canvas to whatever music I’m listening to.
I have to get in and dig into details as deeply as possible for however long it takes to birth. It is very satisfying to create lines, forms and patterns that lead a viewer’s eye around a composition. When I get to the point of “OK, I’ve gotten it all out for this canvas” I then study the painting for where I can reduce.
Taking the time to really look at my work shows me where I can obliterate some of the detail and create cohesiveness. Nothing can be precious! Then I take a large brush and block out areas that usually form themselves as background. My technique, then, is of play and reduction.
If I am just not feeling a work I add some kind of mixed media as a jumping off point to entice me. That usually works for me and I jump into action. I am also inspired by all genres of music. I stand as I paint and I happily dance. Lately it’s been Latin fusion music.
Nature inspires me greatly (there are no straight lines in nature except, perhaps, for the horizon), but mostly it is color. All colors – those I create as well as those straight from the tube or mixed on the canvas itself.
I have been classically trained as an artist; however, I find that trusting my instincts with color and form rather than knowledge carries me to more interesting places. As a child, I remember the feeling of mixing a yellow sun into a blue sky and creating green. It so excited and amazed me. I remain awestruck and thoroughly excited at color mixing.