As I was looking for inspiration for an oil painting series, I noticed a Somalia woman balancing a gallon jug of milk on top of her head, walking down the street. Another time I saw a distraught yet optimistic bearded man telling his plight to a police officer regarding an eviction. These are my neighbors. I’m fascinated by hands, in vivid motion, or even at rest, often as telling as a facial expression. A down-turned glance, a hint of pattern and costume might consume my attention in a given moment. One of these moments prompted me to envision a series of paintings that would document the increasingly diverse population I see in my city.
I endeavor to portray a moment caught in candor where individual personality is expressed. By using broad gesture and simplification my exploration of the ephemeral moment conveys universal qualities of humanity. A Regional Arts and Culture Council 2013 Artistic Focus Project Grant award allowed me to focus on this locally themed series and to mount numerous exhibitions of 30″x 40″ canvases. My work has evolved to have personal meaning and strong community ties. I work strictly with oil pigments on canvas. I paint from the model on a regular basis to keep fluid and spontaneous with my painting and drawing. I believe this regular practice helps keep my larger paintings gestural, especially when working from photographs. I determined I could not authentically paint a candid moment from a staged model. In the past year I have been mostly working from the model and en plein air. Outdoor painting allows me to really see color temperature, very different from indoors. I am now gearing up to add additional 30″ x 40″ paintings to my Northwest Neighbor series for November 2015 through March 2016 exhibitions at two large downtown venues. Working from photographs verses working from life is very different. I am constantly exploring combinations of working from life, from reference and from interpretive inventions within the composition.Website: www.joannekollman.com
Media: drawing & colored pencil, oil, printmaking