Memories surface of designing doll clothes and then sewing them with Mom, creating imaginary room layouts using fallen magnolia leaves on the lawn. building clubhouses in the woods, making paper wreaths, decorating cakes. These are what I remember of my childhood art activities.
Art dove underground during my teen years.Poetry sprang into my life and I modeled myself after the Beats, street poets, self-taught. But I needed to support myself, so I graduated from Seattle University and became a teacher. After a year in India, 1993-1994, working as a writer-in-residence at the American School of Bombay (Mumbai), I returned to school again and eventually, landed an M.A. in English Literature from SUNY Fredonia. My mixed-genre thesis explored the importance of rural living/place.
Poetry had never left me, though, and I established myself locally as a working poet, including a 1990 Western New York Writer-in-Residence sponsored by JUSTBUFFALO literary center. The written word served my drive for creative expression. I taught for eight years in the English Dept. at Fredonia and exhibited several pieces that visually represented poems in local art shows during this time.
This satisfied me, until the death of several loved ones in 2010. During the months I spent grieving, strange stirrings began bubbling within. My hands itched with desire to make something visual. My first painting was created with my fingers, but soon I dove into playing with pencils, paint, pastels.
Everything leads to this moment, though, doesn’t it? The time spent in India deepened my interest in yoga and meditation. I eventually began to teach as well as practice, opening Dunkirk and Fredonia Yoga Center in 2011. The mindful practice of yoga utilizes a sensorial approach whereby the senses become sharply attuned. I practiced seeing and hearing from the inside out, becoming present to what actually is, rather than what I thought should be. This directly influences my painting.
Years of writing poetry, crafting images with synesthesia, have given me experience looking at the world in ways other than with my physical vision. Something opens, a place I did not even know existed. It’s beautiful in its own way.
Artists who have particularly inspired and influenced my work include the visionary Charles Burchfield, the organic Georgia O’Keefe, the gorgeous brushwork of Pierre, Auguste Renoir, the inimitable, expressive Van Gogh, the tenderness of Mary Cassatt, and the psychedelic Peter Max- (I am a child of the sixties, after all!)
2016 Fredonia Technology Incubator, Dunkirk NY, North Shore Arts Alliance Members’ Exhibition
2015 Women in the Arts Invitational, Octagon Gallery, Westfield NY. Curated by Nancy Nixon Ensign
2015 Sensory Gallery Invitational, Ripley NY. Curated by Fergie Lutes
2015 Starting Small Juried Exhibition, CENTRAL BOOKING, NYC.Juror: Danielle Grega
2015 NSAA Members Show, Octagon Gallery, Westfield NY
2014 Women Create Juried Exhibition, THIRD ON THIRD Gallery, Jamestown NY. juror: Leesa Rittlelman
Since Nov. 4, 2014, Midnight Sun, Through the Eyes of the Bear, has been on display at London’s SAATCHI GALLERY SCREEN as well as online.
Another piece, For The Love of Emily, can be viewed in the REED LIBRARY at SUNY Fredonia.
Two pieces were hung in NY Legislative Office Building, Albany as part of ART IN THE CAPITOL during spring 2014
ART Organizations Membership: North Shore Arts Alliance
@CarolynGrady on Instagram (aka @Lilyhostarose)