Embracing the unthinkable and turning it into my inspiration...
In the early days of my art career, I started out exploring realistic portraiture and the figure. In time, I soon discovered the organic and geometric abstract worlds and have never turned back.
Through the years, I have explored just about every media out there and have to say I love them all, and sometimes wish I could live nine times longer so I could explore each one in depth.
As many artists, my work has evolved and gone through different phases. I can feel a new phase coming through! Yes!
Within a blink of an eye, and after 18 years or so, my work phased out from organic shapes and started finding hard, geometric edges infused into very deeply textured surface treatments, and an explosive palette of colors. The start of a new and long love affair for sure!
After several years of painting geometric abstract, I have to say that for a few months now, I am finding my way back to those organically flowing shapes again, and I know exactly why, and I’m thrilled to come full circle!
Here’s the story…
For about 18 years or so, my work was of limited palette and very organic in nature; not only in shapes but also in my methodology…working with the flow and reacting to shapes as they came through. That methodology remains true to me today and will likely remain with me until I can no longer create. I think it is because that is also how I live my life…I take it as it comes. I move forward and just don’t look back.
I was 18 when I first started my college level art courses. A few of my very first works were explosive and full of red for some reason. At 20, an aortic aneurysm nearly took my life, but thanks to great developments in open-heart surgery, I survived. At such a “Spring Chicken” age, I was so incredibly grateful to the gift of life but at the same time, a bit angry and fearful for having a genetic condition that affects all connective tissue in my body…essentially, this condition called marfans, suddenly had all my attention and inevitably became my source of inspiration. I understood on a very deep level, that to survive the challenges of having a life threatening condition for as long as I lived, the challenges I had already experienced were just the tip of the iceberg of what was possibly, to come.
Somehow, I, unintentionally, manifested strength of tissues and muscles through my organic work. Each time I was drawing or painting, I found myself layering interconnected, tissue-looking and muscle-like imagery throughout. I didn’t plan this, it just kind of happened and so I flowed with it because somehow, it resonated greatly. It just became a super source of strength to literally keep it all together!
In 1999, a student found a number in an abstract I was sharing with the class relative to an art history lesson…I had never even seen the number so when it was spotted, it seemed curious at the time…the number was clearly 32…well, I never thought much of it but, a handful of years later, at age 32, I had an aortic dissection which nearly did me in…weird but…hmmm…Subconconcious prediction??
In 2010, I had 2 aneurysms, which required 2 back-to-back crazy, scary surgeries and 2/3 replacement of my aorta…Lord!!! That was no fun! I obviously survived and my artwork then took a huge shift again, now delving into the opposite world of hard edge and geometry, and reaching out to all colors of the spectrum, and all textures I could come-up with. Again, I did not choose this path, it chose me. I flowed.
This work, I know now, literally provided physical strength and fortified spirit. The repetitive geometric structural elements became a form of “prayer” and represented gratitude and the mesh-like textural elements literally held me together. In a sense, layer-by-layer, “my geometric walls”, in my paintings, represented survival and told a story. Yes, I know, for most, this series was just about “houses”…this series was actually, also deeply connected to my roots and experiences as well. Growing-up in a third world country exposes one to all sorts of circumstances that also become deep inspirations. Barrios and the people in them were deeply in my life so the symbolic geometry is very linked to vivid life experiences for sure.
In September 2016, after a 6-year battle with a scary, baffling “mystery” in my chest bone, I had open heart surgery again, and yes it was a total bear…but, amazingly, I’m still here, and wouldn’t you know, my art has taken yet another dramatic shift!
I am back to the organic, flowing shapes but this time, my palette is quite expanded and I can’t wait to continue in this phase to explore the endless possibilities! My first of what I hope will be many is “Burgeoning” , Acrylic on Canvas, 24x36 on Exhibit at Ciel Gallery during this month, January 2017
It is obvious to me that there is a common thread, a common source of inspiration, which is my spirit and its connection with my physical self.
My strength of wellbeing is most certainly, directly related to my creative spirit. My art expresses my spirit and manifests strength in all its forms. I am absolutely sure that I still breathe because I have tapped-in to something very deep via my art. No “woo-woo” here trust me!
It is the depth and breath of this genetic condition that has taught me that life, just like a building structure or a skeleton, depends on the health of its structure. By embracing our own challenges/limitations, good things can happen if one nurtures body, mind and spirit in the form that resonates.
To my collectors, I hope this sheds some light as to how my work is connected and has evolved over the years.
Flow with the tide, create away or do what fills your heart everyday!
INTERACTING WITH YOU IS A PRIVILEGE!
Throughout the years, art has been a true journey of discovery and healing. A thrilling ride with colors, themes, textures, shapes, thoughts, people and cool materials.
It's finally here! I invite you to experience this thrill through the art of interactive journaling. It’s simply a wonderful way to explore the depths of your soul and clarify your thoughts.
To be able to share a few of my journeys with you is quite spectacular! You can click HERE to learn about how art and journaling are my true healer
Susan Nicolai is a genius digital artist and she has put together EyeSusan; interactive art journeys from 20 different artists so you can enjoy thirty days of prompts around the theme of healing.
Ready to get your creative side flowing? Oh, your going to love our prompts! You will truely find delight and will learn a ton!
Click HERE or on the image below to get started! ENJOY THE JOURNEY!!
I'd love to hear back to see how your journey goes and please feel free to pass along THIS LINK to friends and family!
I was born in the U.S. but while growing-up I got to live In Puerto Rico and Colombia. My love for colors, folklore, stories and my sense of curiosity, and sensitivities to life circumstances all began during this time. I moved to Miami in time to start college and lived there for 23+ years.
It was during this time that I finally discovered art and decided to major in art education with a concentration in printmaking. Teaching children of all ages for over a decade infused me with delight. To see how art changed kids lives daily was a gift. It was then, I truly realized how powerful art, in all its forms is. It transforms lives and has literally saved mine.
I now live in North Carolina, and I am a full-time artist. I am primarily a mixed media painter. This means I allow myself to explore all sorts of media and combine them with paint somehow. Mostly, I paint on canvas but every now and then I get sculptural, explore with photography and dig digital art forms!
How does journaling fit in my life? I journal under each and every painting. My journaling occurs during my under painting process. I slap paint on without fear, I write A LOT, I collage with all sorts of meaningful/symbolic ephemera which include printed papers, letters, textiles, yarns, building materials, you name it. My expression may be about issues of the world, issues I am personally dealing with, random thoughts, etc. The healing part continues when I cover it all (or most) with an idea for my series which begins serendipitously, and with which I flow with, sometimes for days, other times for months or even years. I really like to work in series and currently have 4 series/bodies of work going. I also love to be involved in collaborative projects and public art. My latest endeavour involves a digital art affiliated with Eye Susan. This project is in the works and will be up and running by January. Details will come soon!
As a 3-time open-heart surgery survivor, Art is my “center”. It has been and continues to be my healer and that “place” where I am free from the confines of society. It gives me a true doze of hope/light each and every time I am in my studio working.
As a recipient of a few ASC awards it's always great to give back and I have the great opportunity to do so. The Arts & Science Council has a mission to ensure access to an excellent, relevant, and sustainable cultural community for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Region.
The piece I have donated (in photos here) is titled "Crowded Space" 30hx24w...Old walls and cozy places with history and familiar stories inspire me always. I combine this inspiration with the ephemeral, and a constant sense of crowdedness. This constant tension challenges me to bring it all into harmony. Layer by layer, I attempt to do this, coalescing textural elements, color and shapes.
You have a chance to also give back! Have you wanted to start collecting or continue collecting work from your favorite local artist? Ciel Gallery is giving you that opportunity! Go to the link to place your bid and get that beautiful piece of artwork just right for you! Fine art, pottery, jewelry, mosaics, prints, you name it! http://www.biddingowl.com/Auction/index.cfm… #cltARTS #artauction
Stacked Against All Odds
Para Español, sique el enlace AQUI
Just off my easel today!
This painting I titled “Stacked Against All Odds”, it is a 30”x48” mixed acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.
I derived inspiration from contradictory feelings I have experienced when I have been around slums. I have seen many in different countries and have interacted in a handful of them. I have always experienced several things at the same time and always just feel extreme wonder. Some of those feelings have been: fear, joy, beauty, dirty, misery, freedom, pain, appreciation, danger, and wisdom, among others.
It is hard to explain why these places fascinate me but I think it has to do, precisely, with those opposing thoughts I mention above. How is it possible to hold all of those positions at one time in one place? How are people smiling with the biggest and most meaningful smiles I have ever experienced? Why do people become so incredibly dangerous? How can one survive in such filth and difficult circumstances? People actually find joy in parts of their daily life, how? Faith plays a huge role and so many are devoted to God…how can they believe in the divine while living in the way the do? And my list can go on forever…you get the idea though.
This piece is created through the development of many, many layers. Each layer is an emotional response to those feelings.
My iconography usually involves color as the descriptor for positive feelings, textures are about harsh realities and tough situations, and the geometric shapes are the necessary structure to contain the “madness” and maintain some sort of sanity and stability.
As these layers of emotions accumulate, a story is told and in my final layer, I depict a place I create.
All compositions are derived from my head and I immerse myself into the “place” I am painting so I can feel myself “inside” it. It is how I fully know when the “place” I have created is finished. I experience all those mentioned feelings in one place, at one time.
I combine this inspiration with current states of mind, which very often include the narrative that speaks deeply about how congested my mind often feels these days. The overload of information, traffic, new buildings, more people, more things to do, and just the infinite accumulation of more of “everything” starts crowding my emotional space. In my paintings I often “pour” this congestion out so my mind feels spacious and light…this is the feeling I get every time I finish a painting and it’s probably a BIG reason why I paint/create daily…oh what a feeling!
Para Español, sique el enlace AQUI
Many years ago I lived in Puerto Rico. I left the island as a little girl but returned several times throughout my life to visit family. On one of those visits, my cousin and I headed to the beach. On our journey there, somehow we got lost and ended up in "La Perla" known as the slums behind the old fort wall.
I remember the incredible fear I felt because of the stories I had heard about the place. The fear almost took over my senses. Funny thing is, I guess all my senses were on high alert and I took in many details of my surroundings as we drove through it...textures, smells, tin roofs, weird, illogical stacking of dwellings and scary looking dudes (which thankfully I don't recall their faces!), which actually fascinated me and kind of helped me focus and not loose it. It was a vivid, sensorial experience I never forgot. Somehow, we figured out our way out of it and came out unharmed.
That particular journey has specifically sparked 2 paintings. One I no longer have and this one being the other. Not sure why this experience came to mind this past week but it certainly had me on a delightful journey for many hours!
As I have grown, traveled and been around "the block" a few times, I have learned to really try to be sure to look "inside" everything before forming an opinion, labeling it and stowing it away without further thought.
I have not gone to La Perla since, but did experience the slums in Bogota, as my school had an after school program that would take us into the slums a few times to play and teach children how to read. Some of the greatest smiles and sincere actions have stayed with me through life, I guess because they were such an antithesis to the surroundings they lived in and which I had judged and feared. I also experienced them visually as slums were and still are interwoven throughout the city, so it was inevitable to not see/feel what one would initially say is just total misery, and quite noticeable anytime you drove a few miles from home...a very privileged home in contrast.
I have found myself pressed to find and experience that vibrancy and sincere, total presence in my own privileged life. It is a daily goal and often, it is where I "go" in my paintings, that I experience this.
The colors and architectural elements in this piece are inspired by the vibrancy and positive takeaways from experiences like I had in La Perla, slums of Bogota, etc.
The textures, as always, are very personal and tell my story of living life with Marfan syndrome.
The title "Reconciling" seems to be the word that brings together all that I am coming to terms with while creating this particular piece. Though, most of my artwork, in a sense, is always reconciling with something.
If old walls could speak and tell us all they have seen and heard, we'd probably go crazy from info overload (a familiar feeling!) so I keep "my' old walls in my images with only a few sneak peaks (if any) to serve as your reminder to look past the surface of things to find real truth.
Enjoy your in depth journeys!
100 Love Notes Project
Today I sold "A Deep Connection" 40x30 Mixed Acrylic(Sense of Place Series)...
Today I met a wonderful lady and she fell in love with this painting! My heart sings knowing this piece is going to a place where it will be cherished for a very long time...selling is great but for me it's definitely the people, process and the journey of making memories...no way around that. #grateful #Topartcollectors This piece was inspired by a particular old and crowded neighborhood in Bogotá, Colombia combined with a particular old town a few hours away Boyacá, Boyacá. My love for textures and old walls full of mysteries and stories I still wonder about, probably started around the age of 7 or so and decades later continue to hold my full attention. I possibly feel about old walls and places full of history as I do about the octogenarian and older generations which won't be around for long...it really saddens me...actually worries me to be in a world without their guidance, tenacity and wisdom...the strange things that move us I guess move us for a reason
Click on images below for pictures
from my latest show &
Checkout Page 14 of Carolina Arts!
Spotlight Article "Meet Tina Alberni" HERE
Today I am sharing 3 pieces that have to do with bonding. We feel safe and secure on all levels with those we are bonded with and I just treasure those bonds.
These pieces honor the bond between siblings, the bond between mother and daughter and the bond within ourselves (I call it the bond with my soul).
On display through August 29 at Ciel Gallery
If interested in purchasing, please EMAIL me or message me via facebook
All forms of payment available.
Flexible Payment plans are available if needed.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATRONAGE!
Nothing Breaks The Bond
Mixed Media on Paper
39x30 $ 900
Children and mothers never truly part
Bound in the beating of each other's heart.
Trusting Inner Self, Always
Acrylic, Glass & Mixed Media on Canvas
20x16 $ 375
That inner voice is my compass. I trust it and it leads my path.
©2019 Color by Design Studio
Tina's Art Beat