New Art Show – Eileen Adele Hale: Dream Surreal Paintings

New Art Show – Eileen Adele Hale: Dream Surreal Paintings and Other Work

March 21 – May 15
Artist’s Reception: Sunday, April 14, after service

I have loved art, and animals, since I was a very small child. The first time I did a painting of a horse that pleased me was in second grade (I was already, like many children, quite critical of my own work). I drew horses avidly through grade school and high school, gradually branching out into drawing people, cats and dogs, trees, and more. I told my mother that I was an artist and shouldn’t have to do chores. For some reason she didn’t buy it…

This show includes a new set of paintings in what I call my Dream Surreal series. These paintings emerge from a desire to mix realistic, detailed figurative elements like animals, people, trees, and flowers, with abstract elements including geometric shapes and lines, and to indulge my enthusiasm for the look of painting itself: brushstrokes and marks and scribbles and such. Some parts are hard-edged, some impressionistic or naively drawn, some are smooth gradations.

I combine these in a dreamlike way, disregarding their realistic spatial relationships. I sometimes even include elements from actual dreams. I pull from drawings of my little toy animals (a sheep, rabbits, a howling wolf cub); animals from my imagination or drawn from life; trees; furniture; people’s faces and bodies…

I let myself play with elements, overlapping and positioning as I like. I decorate them; I scribble on them. I play with edges, inner shapes, outer surroundings, and how they meet (a la Georgia O’Keeffe), sometimes the solid inner shape darker, sometimes the surrounding darker, enclosing and shaping the lit-up inner shape, and sometimes the dark-light balance shifting in mid-boundary. My work has been influenced by Chagall and Kandinsky as well as O’Keeffe. I think of this as “Disney’s Fantasia meets Kandinsky…”

While horses and trees and circles, for instance, stand in for particular energies and relationships in my mind, and it’s fair to say that my painting emerges from an animist worldview, I’m not thinking symbolically as I work. I see what emerges, listen to the conversations between elements, and even set several paintings side by side to see what they’ll say to each other.

When I start, I don’t know what will happen, or how it will happen. When I’ve finished, I’m not always sure how it happened, or what it’s about, but I get a feeling that all the bits are friends, and each have something to add to the story.

I’ve gone through periods of resisting drawing or painting the things I most love, believing it could not be really good art if I enjoyed doing it too much, if it was too easy, if it was what I was drawn toward. (Good old Puritan thinking???) (This was the same idea that kept me from pursuing art in college. Can’t be Right if it’s too easy and fun!)

Recently I decided, or realized – I’m not sure which – that there was nothing wrong with doing what I love! And I think I also understand more about what elements I do love to include, so, in this second round of Dream Surreal paintings, I’ve made the deliberate choice to include these things: circles – large single ones, or strings of them; toy animals; trees (especially muscular trees); horses. And I have been savoring my time painting.

I’m looking for energy, motion, connection. I want us to look at what we’ve seen before, but see it in a new way. For instance, I’ve seen beautiful paintings of horses before, but I hope to show the energy and heart and thought of horses in a new way by putting them in a new context.