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The shared thoughts and artwork of Beverly Hinckley.

Beverly is a visiting artist from Wakefield, MA. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.

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Q. What does Art mean to you?

Art means a freedom of expression from the soul. It allows me to respond to my emotions, events I am involved in, or sights I have witnessed in an expressive and non-regular way. I can play with color, fabric, texture and form to my heart’s content. Inspiration is all around me and everything stays fluid!
Q. How long have you been creating textile designs through quilting for? Did someone specifically teach you?
I have been creating textile designs that sometimes utilize found objects since I was a child. I always collected bits of nature at my summer home in Canada such as wood with appealing form, shells, fish bones, leaves and flower; or pieces of fabric or metal that had wonderful color and texture – to create collage. About 10 years ago I got into traditional quilting – but it was never free enough and far too repetitive – so I began to work in free-form design – clothes, art pieces, purses.
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Q. What inspires your designs?
I get a lot of inspiration from my friends and family, and my dear quilting group, and recently the other artists of the new Mystic Art Gallery in Medford. I’m learning a lot from them. I am also influenced by the Impressionists and Ethnic forms. I recently moved to Wakefield near the lake and the many shapes and colors of water are inspirational. My garden is always an inspiration. It is beautiful in summer or winter and the constant changing landscapes are fabulous. I remember one morning it was frigid, but it had rained the night before. Just as the sun rose over the garden, the light was refracted into a million tiny rainbows. Inspiration!!
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Q. What influences the fabrics and colors chosen in your quilt designs?
I have no formal art training, so my theory of color is simple: if I put any to colors together and they don’t make my stomach quiver – they work! Much of my work is simply playing with color, shape and layering. I do the same thing in my garden – I am constantly moving plants to create landscapes within the landscape so everywhere one looks there is a beautiful “scene”. I go to all the quilt shoes and museums to see what inspires other artists, collect photos and rip pictures and bits of astounding color from magazines or catalogs. Many times I sit and look through my collection to put ideas together in new ways.
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Q. What is your creative process? How long does each quilt take to complete?
My creative process varies with my idea. I think: I wonder how those forms would look together, and then I start pulling fabrics out of my myriad piles. I use a lot of hand painted batik fabric which includes beautiful shapes and designs that I incorporate into my layouts. I will put something together and then walk away for a couple of days – often to return and move everything around. I use my grandmother’s lace and crocheted pieces, buttons, bits of interesting metal and beads – really anything with an appealing shape or texture.
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Q. How do you relate to your artwork? Is it a reflection of your personality or mood when creating one?
I think textile is my unique art form in that it incorporates texture and minute variations of color or pattern that are natural in fabric. “Painting” with fabric is less stressful for me! But I recently discovered what I innately knew; that my work evolves with my mood. Many times I go back to a piece that didn’t please me and revisit the idea. A whole new piece evolves with my state of mind.
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 Q. Is there anything else you would like to share?
I have been doing art shows for over 10 years – I started in Canada – and over time got the confidence to apply for shows around here. I do a lot of commission quilting – both regular patterns and those I create myself. As I explore and create, I continue to learn how much is truly possible. The whole process feeds my soul!
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The shared thoughts and artwork of Pam Perras.

Pam is a visiting artist from Wakefield, MA. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival on April 26-28, 2013.

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Q.  What does Art mean to you?

Art gives me a chance to be highly aware and focused on subjects I love and wish to share with others. Nature, people, still life. Creating art offers a constant source of discovery about the world and my reaction to it. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, frustrating. But, pair that with the amazing, “in-the-zone” experiences where all that is possible flows like music, I can’t help but love the journey. I love learning.

Q. In your Bio you mention your love of painting outdoors – “hearing birds, feeling the heat or a cool breeze, the smell of water”. Do you find that these unseen experiences influence what you capture by sight?

Yes, I do. All of nature, not just its visual qualities, affects me. I imagine that my emotional reaction to the sounds, smells, the temperature of air on the skin, influence me in ways I can’t verbalize. It all beckons to me! When painting outdoors, I find it exhilarating to create a painting during the short amount of time nature allows. It’s requires thinking on your feet and responding to nature in a very direct way.

Q. Is there a time of day you find yourself always painting during?

No. This winter I’ve painted in the studio a lot. My schedule allows me to paint during the day and focus on family and home in the evening, but I’ve been known to burn the candle at both ends! I paint nearly every day and have started to work on several paintings at once (but not always quickly).

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Q. Have you always loved to paint?

I have always loved art in general, but have focused on painting the last twelve years. I was a graphic designer for many years (and still do it occasionally). I love to draw, have done collage and clay sculpture (for myself).

Q. As a former art teacher, what do you feel is an important lesson to be learned?

Art is such a great field, if learning excites you. No matter how good you are, you can always discover ways to improve. You learn from your own work and from others’. For whatever misguided reason, when I was in school many teachers would tell students, “don’t copy others, do your own work!” As a young artist, one of the best ways to learn is to copy masterful work, while also doing your own. Study the techniques and compositions of master artists; you will eventually find your own personal style. Read about art history. Be an avid learner of all things—nature, science, humanities. Who knows how your artistic journey may be influenced? I enjoyed being a graphic designer because it also exposed me to many different fields and ideas.

Q. Do you have any formal training?

I would say I’m mostly self-taught. I did get a BFA in fine art (painting and sculpture), but the focus at the time was on abstract expressionism and conceptual art. Although I appreciate some of the great qualities to be found in abstract art, I would have preferred to master the traditional skills first. I have an MFA in graphic design. Some of the skills I learned for graphic design have influenced my art, I’m sure. I’ve taken painting classes and workshops in the past six years.

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Q. What do you do when you are not painting?

I enjoy reading about all different things, including art; I love to garden, hike, bike, go to museums.

 Q. What is your current work about? What are you trying to explore and how has that evolved since you started? 

This winter, I’ve organized weekly figure/portrait sessions for a group of artists in my studio in Amesbury. In addition to landscapes, I have always loved painting and drawing people. I’m working on new ideas and will see where they take me. My goal is to explore figurative work, not necessarily become a portrait painter. I’ve been taking classes with Kelly Carmody, which has made me step back and address fundamental aspects of my work, like light/dark patterns, composition, modeling of forms. It’s a challenging time! As a representational artist, I’d love to include beautifully turned forms in my paintings. I’m experiencing a bumpy learning curve these days, but it’s great! With the warmer weather, I’ll also be painting outdoors with a group of plein air painters called Band of Brushes. I’ve been a member for 6 years.

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Q. How do you relate art to life?

I can’t separate the two, yet I’m still trying to figure out how to make more meaningful connections in my work. In everyday life, my family has posed for me and listened to my excited comments about nature, landscapes, skies. When my sons and their cousins were young, they were supportive and helpful, too—bringing me abandoned nests, bits of nature and hiking and enjoying the outdoors while I’ve painted.