People and Places by Five Artist Friends
We are a group of five artists that have come together and become fast friends through creating art. We shared a studio space for years in downtown Amherst, where we met weekly to simply paint and enjoy the camaraderie and inspiration of fellow painters. Since the closing of the studio we continue to meet each week, in person or on zoom. We enjoy our time together, paint, share our current work, techniques, and challenges. The process of painting together, and taking time to consult, helps each of us to remain engaged in growing and developing in the making of our art.
I painted Countenance 1, from a photo of Mahvesh Sabet. Mahvesh wrote poetry during her decade in Tehran's Evin prison and was recognized in 2017 as an English PEN International Writer of Courage. She is a beacon that has influenced my painting. Mahvesh has just been arrested in Tehran during recent Baha'i persecutions and sentenced ten years once again for being a leader in the Baha'i community. My process in painting begins in my imagination, and using a visual or internal reference, I start to sketch out the forms using oils or graphite. The image takes shape through applying thin washes of oil paint. It is that memory of the Madonna image, that without knowing how, or why, is what arises in my paintings.
The basis of my work is the beauty and mystery of the landscape. I have been exploring how to convey the complexity of the natural world through simplification of shape and color. What appeals to me most is creating a sense of balance, harmony and calm. These semi-abstract 8 x 8 oil paintings are on panels.
Most often, I set out to paint what something feels like to me, using watercolors. It may be flowers, images from stories people share, outdoor scenes, or from my imagination. Often I use extra water and incorporate the forms that emerge when the pigments and water mix. I enjoy the subjectivity of this method: does it "feel" like what I'm after, rather than does it look like it. This series is from photographs taken by our son and his partner in their travels. They wanted beloved outdoor spaces to be part of their wedding celebration.
Most of my art is about a feeling or idea that I can't express adequately in words, such as anxiety over losing mental maps of places I've lived. The other two paintings, however, simply capture scenes that pleased me and are painted from memory (snow) or on site (kitchen).
Instagram: @linnbowerlinn | Gallery work at Molly Cantor Studio, Shelburne Falls, MA
I turned to painting after I retired from a career as a psychotherapist. I started with portraiture as a transition to being deeply connected to patients. I love the process of oil painting, the challenge, the learning, the mess, the frustration, the inspiration from an upside down world and people in it. Painting continues to be, a soul satisfying endeavor, a meditation on and to life.