Featured Artist Rhonda Counts

Rhonda Counts creates sumptuous, richly textured acrylic paintings of nature by impressing natural elements, such as leaves and other found objects into modeling paste she has applied to her canvas. Learn more about her work by visiting her website.

 

"Oley Valley Clover" Acrylic, 24" x 24" by artist Rhonda Counts. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Oley Valley Clover” Acrylic, 24″ x 24″

 

The textures and colors of nature inspire me. I want to capture nature’s details on my canvas. As I quote with regards to my work, “I create a textured canvas, and then I paint.”

 

"Magical Night" Acrylic, 20" x 20" by artist Rhonda Counts. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Magical Night” Acrylic, 20″ x 20″

 

During my career as an art director for Walt Disney Imagineering, I would study the various techniques my fellow Imagineers used as they created the fantasy landscapes for the parks. I asked myself the question, how can I achieve similar effects on a canvas?

 

"Happy Hour Fruit" Acrylic, 36" x 24"by artist Rhonda Counts. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Happy Hour Fruit” Acrylic, 36″ x 24″

 

The first step I take in achieving texture is to apply a paper substrate which may be crinkled tissue paper or a decorative textural paper applied with matte medium. I form the paper as I lay it on the canvas.

 

"Chicken Soup" Acrylic, 16" x 16" by artist Rhonda Counts. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Chicken Soup” Acrylic, 16″ x 16″

 

In creating the overall “natural applied textures” I work with modeling paste. Modeling paste holds the textural shapes as I work my colors into the painting. I work the paste onto the canvas using various tools, but I often find my hands are the best tools—it’s like playing in mud! I especially love the feathered shaped effects I create. The feathered effects inspired my chicken paintings.

 

"Peekin' Thru" Acrylic, 20" x 20" by artist Rhonda Counts. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Peekin’ Thru” Acrylic, 20″ x 20″

 

As I work the modeling paste, I am creating the underlying textures I wish to have in the painting.

 

Process Photos by artist Rhonda Counts. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

Process Photos

 

The next step is “impressing” the leaves or other found objects into the paste. Once the modeling paste is dry, I peel off the pressed objects and seal the paste with gesso. I now have a textured canvas to paint.

 

"Last Stand on the Ridge" Acrylic, 24" x 30" by artist Rhonda Counts. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Last Stand on the Ridge” Acrylic, 24″ x 30″

 

I paint with Golden fluid acrylics and allow the paint to fall into the textured crevices. I work wet and dry over the texture. I am continuously working the colors, even lifting off color on the texture, if need be, with denatured alcohol. This process is my Zen, I am completely in the moment as I observe the colors bringing the piece to life.

 

"Spring Colors" Acrylic, 12" x 12" by artist Rhonda Counts. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Spring Colors” Acrylic, 12″ x 12″

 

I usually work on two to three pieces at once. I have to gather leaves while I can! Since I tend to work seasonally, it helps to reserve paints, causing less waste once a color is mixed. Autumn is my favorite season to reflect in my paintings.

 

"So Close" Acrylic, 10" x 30" by artist Rhonda Counts. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“So Close” Acrylic, 10″ x 30″

 

I am drawn to abstract painting—it is the color and composition of a piece that intrigue me. I refer to my work as abstract realism. I began my career at Disney as a graphic artist and this has influenced the composition of my paintings. I am also inspired by the simplified views of the natural world reflected in Japanese wood block prints, especially those of artist Ohara Koson.

 

"Jack's Visit" Acrylic, 10" x 20" by artist Rhonda Counts. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Jack’s Visit” Acrylic, 10″ x 20″

 

I continue to experiment with various techniques and mediums to insure my work will always be evolving. To what levels can I take this process? Reflecting the textures and colors in nature will always be the bases for my paintings. My favorite quote, by Margaret Hoover Brooks, is “Nature sustains us, contains us, to this we belong.”

 

"Call in the Oley Valley" Acrylic, 24" x 24" by artist Rhonda Counts. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Call in the Oley Valley” Acrylic, 24″ x 24″

 

It is my journey and I hope you will check in now and then to see where I am along its path.

 

Artist Rhonda Counts invites you to follow her on Instagram.

 

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Comments

  1. Amy Schade says:

    Jack’s Visit is spectacular!! Also, Magical Night…..keep it up!

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