Monday, January 12, 2015

All About the Passion: An Interview with Linda Bell

Linda Bell's passion for art and life bursts off the canvas of her carefully crafted collages.  A career outside of the art world, children and marriage "intruded," as Linda says, causing her to put the creation of art aside for many years. That's one side of the story.  Looking at her collages, mixed media art and acrylic paintings, the cumulative experiences of a life joyfully and fully experienced permeates every aspect of her work.  

Well done, Linda Bell.  Let's chat.

Blue Moon
by Linda Bell

Q1. What is your first memory of art? 

A1. My first memory connected to art likely comes from my mom telling the story of when I was five and busy painting a Christmas tree in a school classroom. The local newspaper had sent around a journalist and photographer to my elementary school and the principal of the school (who just happened to be my uncle) brought them to the Kindergarten room. Apparently, they tried to talk to me but I was so entranced and busy with my painting I ignored them. The photographer did, however, shoot a picture of me painting away and it appeared on the front page of the paper.  

by Linda Bell
Q2. What was the first work of art you created?

A2. I am not sure. I did dabble in drawing and painting in high school and then university a bit but life intruded and a career, marriage and children took over and I did no art except a pottery class for many, many years. 

Tea Party Fiesta
by Linda Bell
Q3. Was there a point in your life when you decided to try art, or were you always an artist? 

A3. I was always an artist wannabe. I do remember the moment, however, after my son was born when I felt an overwhelming need to do something just for myself and that something was art. So I enrolled in a local watercolour class and somehow found a way to get there. I used to laugh and tell people that I was going to my therapy — but really for me it was serious, a form of escape and meditation. Since then I have painted off and on for many years. I retired almost 6 years ago now and now I have the time and freedom to paint when I want. 

Musician NYC
by Linda Bell
Q4. Are there specific triggers that cause you to race to a blank canvas/paper or do you impose a certain discipline on yourself? 

A4. I am totally undisciplined when it comes to painting - it is my joy, not my job, so I paint when I feel the need to paint. I have weeks when I don’t pick up a brush and weeks when the ideas and the desire to paint take over and I paint from morning to night. The only times when I have disciplined myself and pushed myself to paint have been when I have been preparing for a show. When I have done this, however, I have not always been happy with the results. We are all different, though, and I know some artists believe you should go into your studio every day — but that is not me and I don’t have to follow anyone's rules when it comes to this area of my life — hurrah! 

Cat Nap
by Linda Bell
Q5. When you are working on a piece, is there a point at which you realize you have a masterpiece taking shape on the canvas/paper?

A5. Well, I am still waiting to create that masterpiece. You know that saying “hope springs eternal.” Every new painting you start has that possibility. In fact some of what I consider my better paintings have been done over top of “old paintings.” I think it is because one has a feeling of there is nothing to lose so it is freeing. Of course, I have created really big messes that way, too. On another note I have recently realized that I need to leave a painting alone for a while after I think I have finished as I lose all perspective and don’t know if it is good or not so great or what to do to make it better. 

Morning Tea
by Linda Bell
Q6. Are there any artists you find particularly inspiring? 

A6. It's hard to know where to start with this question. My tastes are somewhat eclectic and so I love all kinds of art and artists. So I will just list the artists that spring to mind — Paul Cezanne, Gustav Klimt, [Henri] Matisse, and Georges Braque to start with. Then as a Canadian I have to mention the Group of Seven and in particular Lawren Harris and A J Casson

I love the abstract and graphic art of such artists as Rex Ray, Anne Moore and Krista Harris. I bought a DVD by Anne Bagby several years ago and her patterns and techniques have been an inspiration ever since. I do a lot of collage so I am always drawn to other artists who work with collage and mixed media - but there are too many to list here. 

That is why I love Pinterest so I can collect images from these artists - how great is that. Another current artist whose work just takes my breath away is Dean Mitchell.  I have to stop now or I could go on and on. 

It's a Numbers Game #2
by Linda Bell
Q7. Are there any non-artists you find particularly inspiring?

A7. Again, a lot to consider with this question. I think right now I am inspired by those people and leaders who work to make this world a better place. I have a medical background and right now I am just amazed by the healthcare providers who are risking their lives to provide care for people with Ebola. I am also inspired by people who are working to improve the lives of women and children around the world. 

Time Out
by Linda Bell
Q8. Please answer a question I didn’t ask. 

A8. Thank you for this opportunity first of all. I have people say to me how lucky I am to be an artist and in the past I used to reply that anyone can be an artist and that there are classes and books and other artists they could learn from. I still believe that people can learn to draw and paint — but I have realized recently that really it is not about learning specific things it is more about the passion — that's a corny word, I know, but I think it is the best word for it. Those of us that are artists have a desire and need to do what we do. It has its ups and downs, the frustrations when things don’t work out, the paintings that don’t sell or get into a juried show, but those are minor and fleeting, it is about the process and the joy of creating that drives us. So now I first say yes, that I appreciate how very lucky I am.  I hope other artists also feel a sense of gratitude for this gift that gives meaning to our lives.

Lean on Me
by Linda Bell
Q9.  Where can we see (and purchase) your work?

A9. My work can be found on my Web sitethe Federation of Canadian Artists' site; and Aion Gallery, an art gallery which also offers art rental services.

Just Checking
by Linda Bell

Thanks for stopping by, Linda. There’s always a passionate beagle to pet and a cup of hot tea at the ready in Lakewood. Don’t be a stranger.