“When a vase of flowers or an object catches my eye, I’ll start drawing it,” says Paula, a contemporary American artist who rarely stages a complete still life before she begins working. Her warm imagery, playfully executed in luminous oil paints and pastel sticks, and often textured with printed papers, includes Granny Smith & Lilies, above right.
As artists are ruled by their creative phases, Paula has taken her finely tuned skills to new levels and continued to develop her talent for oil painting. Working amidst scenic views from her studios—one overlooking a waterfall in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and the other on Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State—she later focused her eye for detail on commissioned drawings.
Paula’s most recent phase appears to celebrate a release from the precision work of her past. The oil-painting skills she kept in the periphery throughout her career have materialized as Matisse-like tablescapes rich with color and pattern. Elated, loose, and inviting, these imaginary refuges—some of them fusions of paint and paper—draw deeply from within the core of her family-focused childhood.
“I have the luxury at this time of my life to do what feels good,” says the artist, whose work is exhibited nationwide. Her widespread following includes collectors from New York to California, as well as Canada. Inspired by nature and free-spirited times spent with her grandchildren, Paula is happiest when experiencing spontaneity and surrendering to the moment. These days, she contemplates the blank canvas with a patience born from artistic insight. “If one is quiet within themselves and waits,” she says, “it will talk to you. That is how it happens for me.”
Text Jeanne Delathouder
Photography Sarah Dunlap
Styling Nan Whitney
For more artistic inspiration, see “Science & Spontaneity” on page 58 of the July/August 2011 issue of Victoria.