Artist: Heather Stivison
Norton Framing & Gallery welcomes the artwork of Heather Stivison
About the Artist
I am a former museum director and emerging interdisciplinary artist, working in
watercolor, acrylics, oils, or fiber. I use watercolor when I want to create an
intimate work — one that invites a viewer to come close to the work for a very
personal and subtle experience. My acrylic and oil paintings speak more loudly
through their size and color intensity. My fiber sculptures focus on experimental
concepts and textures.
My current work is inspired by nature and the passage of time within the natural
world. An entire landscape changes, not just seasonally or with time of day, but
with fleeting patterns of shadows, ocean breezes, or early morning mist. I want to
capture a specific moment more than the particular placement of trees, hills, and streams. Late in his career, George Inness said “Knowledge must bow to spirit.” I also want to paint the spirit of scene more than its factual representation.
Perhaps because of my own age, I see evidence of time’s influence on nature all around. Seashells washed up on the shore are literally empty skeletal remains. There is something poignant in these beautiful objects that are no longer needed as homes for the mollusks that once inhabited them. But these empty architectural forms are not useless detritus. In their new “life-stage” they have new purposes in the coastal ecosystem. Barnacles, algae, sponges, and seaweed grow on their surfaces. Even as the shells are battered into smaller pieces they are needed to prevent beach erosion. Eventually they become the sand itself. I often paint these broken and battered shells with barnacles clinging to them and frequently enlarge them to underscore their beautiful architecture.
Ocean life is of particular interest to me. Since moving from the New York Metropolitan area in 2014, I have become inspired by the rocky shores and salt marshes of coastal Massachusetts. The ever changing views of waves and the rhythms of the tides also tell a story of the passage of time and of something eternal.
My shell and “object” paintings are all created in the studio directly from objects I have found on the beach. My landscapes and seascapes all begin with an outdoor experience, though they are rarely plein air works. I make quick sketches with notes on-site and take a handful of photographs to use as reference in the studio.
My hope is that, while the subjects of my images may be recognizable, the spirit of a moment captured in paint will be more personal.