Sedalia artists Marlis Wise and Shirley Horacek have combined two different art mediums with the same theme for their show at the Municipal Building that will exhibit until the end of July.
Nature and the outdoors are represented by Wise’s pastel paintings and by Horacek’s intricate collage work. The show is an ongoing exhibit by members of the Sedalia Visual Art Association.
Horacek inspired by gardens, colors
“I’m a gardener first,” Horacek said Tuesday. “So, all of my work is inspired by my gardens. I don’t even have to leave home. There’s enough inspiration in my backyard.”
She added that she does travel sometimes, but said “it’s much nicer” to be able to be at home and paint from a “place you know.”
“You can better capture the mood of that,” she noted.
Horacek has 11 collage pieces in the show that feature gardens, flowers and sunsets.
Her set of six sunset pieces were exhibited in the Missouri Top 50 at the Missouri State Fair last year. What looks like silhouettes of mountains against a setting sun are actually rooftops Horacek saw from her window and door while renting an apartment after the May 2011 tornado destroyed her home.
The series of collages were created on unryu, a mulberry fiber paper.
“It comes in different weights and it’s great for creating thin layers of color,” she said. “I dye all my papers myself.”
She also uses silk paper in her work.
“That’s very nice too, for backgrounds,” she added.
After dyeing her paper with liquid watercolor, Horacek either hand-tears or cuts it into tiny pieces to create the collages. From a distance her work appears to be watercolor but upon closer inspection one sees the texture of intricate paper shapes that become flowers, tables and multi-layered gardens.
Her most recent pieces, “Sisters’ Outdoor Café” and “Comfort Zone,” are works created from her sister Linda Gould’s backyard garden in Kansas City.
“I’m very proud of these,” Horacek said. “She has such a wild mix of flowers. But, the idea was to capture the feeling of actually being there, just sitting in her backyard and having coffee.”
Horacek said she doesn’t know how long it takes to create a piece.
“I could probably do one in a week, I don’t know, it takes a long time,” she noted.
Horacek began to work with collage after trying watercolor and “failing.”
“So, I tore it up and made collages out of it,” she said laughing. “The collages just evolved into different kinds of paper. This feels good to me, I like this.
“I love the brightness of the colors that you can produce with the paper,” she added. “The inks are really intense, so you can create real bright colors.”
Wise enjoys pastel’s sensual quality
Wise has been working with pastels for 20 years. She too enjoys the outdoors and creating pieces that mirror the places she loves. She often works from hundreds of photos she’s taken while traveling or at her rural home. She may only use one photograph but there have been instances where she’s used several to create a piece. Wise also has 11 pieces in the show.
She finds the pastel medium sensual.
“I get so excited when I start a piece, I almost get the chills,” she said Tuesday. “I create a piece to be where I would want to be. I want to be a part of it, I want to be walking down that path.
“It becomes me,” she added. “I love pastels because you do not have an extension of a brush. You are working one-on-one, you are part of that paper. It’s very sensual. Your soul becomes part of it. You want to be in the moment with that painting.”
Wise usually uses her fingers to create her scenes versus a brush. Pastel is applied to a sanded paper, which can be difficult on fingers. To prevent abrasions, Wise uses finger guards. Over the years she has found different techniques to create the effect she is striving for such as using sponges or a credit card dragged through pastel dust to create sunbeams.
“For a lot of my big skies, I use cosmetic sponges,” she said.
She enjoys painting scenes of the American southwest because of the vibrant colors of the desert and canyons, but she also paints scenes from Missouri.
“I’m really into rocks, and dirt and earth tones and textures,” she said. “That’s why I like pastel too, because you can put any texture you want to on that sanded paper, it’s like a nail file. You can keep layering as many coats as you can get on there until you fill up the tooth.”
Red is a common color one will find in Wise’s work, even if it’s only a hint of rust.
“Every painting should have a touch of red in it,” she noted. “It adds life to it, it adds a happiness. It doesn’t have to be obvious. It adds life to it, like a heartbeat.”
The Sedalia Visual Art Association exhibit featuring Wise and Horacek’s artwork will be up from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until August in the lobby of the Municipal Building, 200 S. Osage Ave.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.