Artist Denise Fulton portrays women that appear to be confined to the picture frame. Her work is charged with emotion and meaning. See more by visiting her website.
I’ve painted all my life and earned a B.F.A. as a young woman, but it was only with the dissolution of my corporate career and the birth of my second child that I was brave enough to pursue the life of a full-time artist. Now, seven years later, I can’t imagine doing anything else.
My work is characterized by my love of color and pattern. In college, alongside my painting, I got a minor in fabric design. In those days, before computers were common, I would spend hours painstakingly creating repeat patterns, paisleys and plaids using pencil and gouache.
This attention to the detailed pattern can be found in my current work. I love filling in the patterns of a carpet or foliage almost as much as a face.
When I first focused on developing a full-time art career I worked in watercolor, which I loved. I then transitioned to acrylics and, after spending several years working in acrylic, I’ve returned to oils.
The smell and texture of the paint reminds me of long nights spent in the painting studio as an undergraduate. The years away from the studio have given me the discipline and patience that I previously lacked.
Literature is a great source of inspiration for me. One of my guilty habits and great pleasures is listening to audio books while I paint. I’ve noticed that the types of books have a big influence on the subject of my paintings.
My most recent work features women confined in the picture plane. It’s no coincidence that the idea came while I was listening my way through the canon of feminist literature: Betty Friedan, Virginia Woolf, Kate Chopin, Colette and others.
I’ve found that I love painting the figure. Even the most basic depiction of a human form brings narrative depth to a work. I also love the challenge. It’s much easier to paint a tree – no one is going to quibble about the length of the branches or the color of the leaves.
With a person, you have to get it just right for it to be plausible. In the case of portraiture, getting an exact likeness adds another level of difficulty. My subjects tend to be women because theirs are the stories that I know best and am most interested in telling.
Artist Denise Fulton invites you to follow her on Facebook.