Dawn Stafford

In a recent narrative, Dawn said the following about her new work:

The past two years have been very formative for me because my desire for painting to become a quality of my everyday life has come to pass. I am drawing while having my morning coffee and painting in or out of doors in the afternoon or evening. When I'm not painting I work on "Alice's Closet, " a small clothing line of luxurious cloaks and accessories, throw on the potter's wheel, create ornamental masks assembled from twigs, paper, feathers, beads and most any natural found object and grow flowers, herbs and vegetables in my garden.

I have always been drawn artistically to the honesty, simplicity and beauty of natural elements. My interest in painting them seems never to be exhausted. Recently I read an article that commented against "beauty in art." It caught my eye because this summer I composed a painting titled "Sense of Pride" which was one of Dante's seven deadly sins. I was painting very unattractive feelings and used only Mars black and Titanium white on canvas. The next morning upon entering my studio I was astonished by its strength and beauty. The bad feeling was greatly diminished, perhaps transformed.

This painting in particular, as well as a series of watercolour drawings, have led me to examine the use of a simplified palette. I'm fascinated by the character of quiet melancholy and harmony that is inherent in these sketches using only blue, black and sepia ink. I use these to capture ideas that may later become oil paintings. I'm a person who sees trillions of colors when looking at a live subject. The more I use my eyes the more I see. I'm finding clarity in working this way. The watercolours are teaching my oils new perspectives.

The November show at "The Timmel Collection" will include watercolour studies and oils. I continue to work within the framework provided by the antiquated genres of still-life landscape and figure and yet the qualities I'm reaching towards capturing in my paintings have more to do with intangibles like spirit and essence and abstract ideas about music, poetry, rhythm, words, memory. patterns and religion. Working directly from life is vital to me because it challenges me to paint in a direct and decisive manner and keeps me united with the magic therein.

I am so grateful towards the people at Ox-Bow School of the Arts who employed me to teach painting this past summer - Theresa Gray, an authentic artist who didn't let me back out of my first show in the area and Mary Heuvelhorst of Saugatuck, a very creative and wise crone who has done much to amplify the good talent in our town. Thank you for your collective encouragement and support in my goals.

Dawn in front of The Gallery with
Chicago Patrons who have
acquired five of her major pieces.