Artist Andrea Monroe merges her Catholic upbringing with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor in creating her intriguing and colorful figurative paintings. Visit her website to see more of her art.
My approach to almost everything in my life has been basically done with “out of the box” thinking. Creativity touched all – my home, my work, and the way I portrayed myself in the world. Ironically though, painting did not come to the forefront until 1998 when I had my son and began decorating his room with colorful, whimsical creatures. Then, in 2003, I had a spiritual breakthrough and learned we are all instruments who were put on this earth to express something larger than ourselves.
I love color, but mostly I love detail. My basic painting strategy is to break down a larger shape into the small individual shapes that make up the whole. This has been sometimes referred to as a “paint-by-number” technique.
The colors I use are always hand mixed or happy accidents, depending on how you want to look at it. I follow no rule of thumb in their placement either. That kind of “letting go” makes for a pretty interesting overall experience, leading the viewer deeper into the painting.
Influenced by a Catholic upbringing, my first series began with a painting called The Release, which led the way to other spiritual paintings I afterwards dubbed “Byzantine pop” and ended with The Last Supper, my own rendition of what it would be with noteworthy spiritual leaders seated at the table.
Once “spirit” moved through me, I began to exercise another part of my personality onto canvas – my tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. The next series became pretty much the birthplace for symbolism in my paintings with titles to match; I’m Not Kissing Your Ass Anymore or Cross-Section of a Squirrely Guy.
Having grown up in a family who did a lot of antiquing, I’d been exposed to a lot of history – people, objects, furniture, and textiles. My “LA Series” expresses that influence. It began with a painting I did for a Northridge, California event, called The Halversons Were Here. Using a textile print of the 1930s era in the background, the Halverson family is painted into a patternly history of what the Northridge area once was, with alfalfa farms, orange trees, and a bubbling underground oasis.
I really enjoyed the look of this painting and continued on with more paintings that entertained Los Angeles’ historical street names.
Symbolism being a large part of my work, was used the strongest during ‘The Story of my Divorce,’ a series I painted during my divorce. Each painting was an extremely personal and visual dialogue of the sadness and empowerment I faced while ending my marriage.
Currently, I’ve embarked on painting ‘The Harlots.’ The name brewed and became a reality to canvas after an ex-boyfriend insulted me by calling me one. Again, history and a sense of humor play a prominent role in the images.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my brief story. I look forward to finally becoming a full time painter, hopefully settling into a community of like-mindedness where love, kindness, and creativity are in each and every breath.
Artist Andrea Monroe invites you to follow her on Facebook.