Trisha M. Earley
Born in Springfield, PA (aka Philly Suburbs)
Lives & works in Red Oak, IA
University of Nebraska Omaha, BFA Studio Arts - Painting with English Minor
From Coloring Books to Paintings
I am a colorist and a landscape artist. I paint to inform, recount, and reinterpret my environment through forms and colors true to my emotional memory. These memories are snapshots that I reinterpret through my visceral reaction to a moment, time of day, or turn of a season. For me, color is universal in that it evokes memory, inspires emotions, and transcends language.
My fascination with the subtleties and outrageousness of color began in childhood with the murals of Maxfield Parrish and the illustrations of N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, and Harvey Dunn. These illustrators instilled in me a love for color while another childhood pastime inspired a love of graphic design. Coloring books.
Through my lifetime ritual of coloring in coloring books on a weekly basis, I have become by nurture an artist of reduction. The ready-made graphics of these books allows me to find expression through color only. These same graphic elements of flattened space, geometric shape, and uncomplicated composition influence the conceptual decisions of my paintings. The act of reducing to basic form is, for me, like memory itself; both contain the brilliant clarity of diminution. The reduction of a place to its emotional forms of color, texture, and shape is how I approach my work.
The shape or construct of my work has influences of its own – windows. I am a daydreamer who has spent a lifetime staring out windows lost in some daydream or hours driving back and forth to Omaha viewing my environment from the vantage point of my windshield. We digest nature through windows and/orTV/computer screens. How we perceive our natural world through these filters is what lies behind my work. What is now call nature is so controlled and regulated; one needs to ask – what is natural. A dichotomy that I explore through use of shapes, colors, and textures that are familiar yet oddly foreign.
I approach my work through several stages of investigation; photograph the landscape, reduce it to its
basic elements via Photoshop, then draw directly on my birch board. The choice of birch panel is to reference the natural. The grains in the wood also reference the agriculture marks on the landscape. The choice of a more vertical or square orientation references windows, reinforces our natural unnaturalness, and conflicts with the historical genre of landscape painting. The use of wax medium adds a luminosity and unearthly glow that subtly reinforces the predetermined state of the agricultural landscape. My choice to apply the paint in layers reflects the layers of emotion, the layers of memory, and the layers of civilization.
In my current work, I have introduced certain elements of man by including such symbols as highway signage, lampposts, telephone poles, radio towers, fences, and wind turbines – by adding these forms I reference the artifice of our natural world. I am also now truly incorporating my prints by converting them to b&w ink transfers placed the birch panels then use glazes and crayons to complete the work. I think of my paintings as roadmaps to observation, investigation, and reconnection with the environment.