Friday, March 24, 2017

Field Trip! Doris Wasserman

I'm so excited to share the latest artist in my Field Trip! series, Doris Wasserman. Doris is a Canadian artist who lives in Nashville. I discovered her when I was searching for local artists and her beautiful paintings popped up. I absolutely love the air, space, color and radiating light that seems to shine thru her work. On a whim, I sent her an email to see if she'd be interested in taking part in this series. Not only did she agree, but she hosted me both at her showing and invited me back to her beautiful home studio. How wonderful is that? Below, you'll find the video. Art teachers, feel free to share this with your students. Doris does a wonderful job of explaining her process and sharing her journey as an abstract painter. 
Doris was originally a medical illustrator. She decided to take an abstract painting class...and the rest is history. Well, that makes it sound like the journey was an easy one. If you've ever tried your hand at abstract painting, you know that it really is a journey full of ups, downs, self-doubt and discovery. Doris likens getting into the grove of painting like meditation. When I look at her work, I can sense that peace and calm that comes from mindful breath. 
Doris and I share similar painting backgrounds in that I was once a representational artist. In fact, my degree is in painting (which got me real far working at Pizza Hut, lemme tell you). Over time, I found that style of painting to be very constrictive and I lost interest. During my college years, abstract painting was looked down upon by my professors and it was ingrained that the only real painting was realistic painting. What a pity that I missed out on learning just how incredibly rich abstract painting can be. 
Listening to Doris talk and witnessing her process was very eye-opening to me. I love her method of hanging a wall of canvases in varying shapes and sizes. How fun would this be for our students? How freeing would it be for our kids who struggle to get things "just right" as I used to do? Would't it also be great for our wiggly friends? 

Doris' method is to put a color on her palette, a heap of white and some medium that give the paint more viscosity. Working in acrylic, she applies paint with one hand and scrubs with the other, using inexpensive house paint brushes. 
As she works, Doris also will collage bits of paper into her work. Sometimes the paper is so subtle, you have to look for it and other times, it has more of a voice in her work. As Doris paints, she also uses the back of her brush to scribble and sometimes write onto her canvases.
 Over time, the paintings take on layers of color and texture. As the paintings draw closer to completion, Doris adds delicate lines and designs in a deep gray. 
Her process and her work inspired me to look more closely at abstract paintings. When I was in her studio, Doris asked me if I miss painting and if I think I'd ever get back to it. Y'all know that I piddle with painting and create silly pieces to hang around the house. At the time I told her no...but after visiting her studio, chatting with her and editing this video, I have to say, I'm feeling very inspired. 
Thank you so much, Doris, for allowing me (and my students) to get to know you, your artwork and learn about your process. You are an inspiration! 
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  1. Lovely work by Doris. Thanks for sharing her with us

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  3. Loved reading this blog and discovering Doris! Thank you for your passion and generosity Cassie!!

  4. Love your video Cassie! I want to create some videos for my students... what all do I need to get started? Would appreciate your suggestions. Thanks


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