Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spotlight on Twin Ports Painter Teresa Kolar

I first met Teresa Kolar at one of the Phantom Galleries Superior openings in late 2012. Her paintings were readily distinctive and uplifting, as was her spirit. I later saw more of her work at a Clyde Iron Works event (Charlie Parr was playing that night) and it led me to want to get to know more of her story, which I am sharing here.

EN: You work in a variety of media. What are your favorite mediums to work in?

TK: Yes, I have worked in various mediums. Approximately 25 years ago I started taking classes for watercolors. I worked in that medium for several years. Then, I changed to pastels for two or three years. Finally I discovered acrylics and have been working with them ever since. Each medium has its pluses and minuses, of course. It was a matter of choosing the one where pluses outweighed the minuses.

Watercolors are wonderful because of their transparent beauty. Working with them was good for my character. They tested my patience and dedication, but I liked so much the way they looked. I just wanted to become accomplished enough to render attractive results and enjoy a positive experience while using them. That was tough! They are an unforgiving medium. Then, when you get a piece done you have to mat and frame it. Very costly and time consuming. Eventually I became intrigued by qualities of pastels. The colors were so rich and ethereal. (I had not yet learned my lesson about framing. Pastels are even more labor intensive than watercolors!) Needless to say, my relationship with pastels was short and sweet. I loved the colors, I did not like the dust and the framing. That's when I started thinking about acrylics.

I attended a lecture/demonstration of Golden brand Acrylics by Bonnie Cutts. I was hooked! I loved the richness of the colors, the variety of materials the medium offered AND NO FRAMING! I loved painting on stretched canvas knowing that when I was finished it was ready to hang! I was thrilled to be able to make changes if needed by painting over previous things. Changing my mind when working with watercolors or pastels was just never an easy option. Acrylics were my new found love.

Red Bird with Kandinsky
EN: Birds seem a popular theme of yours. What got you interested in the birds?

TK: I love animals and things found in the wild. Birds are a wonderful and whimsical way to stylistically record nature.

EN: What are some of the other recurring themes in your art?

TK: I enjoy painting horses, trees and flowers. I adore clouds but, I haven't figured out how to interpret them successfully yet.

EN: When did you first take an interest in making art? Who were early influences?

TK: I have loved "making things" since I was very young. I started watercolor painting approximately 25 years ago. I took as many workshops as I could. Some were at the Duluth Art Institute, some were out of town.

The most influential person regarding my art is my mother. She has been painting since I was a child. She would sing as she made her way through our house. She brought us to plays. My mom lives life in an artistic way. She always has and I have noticed and enjoyed that ever since I can remember.

Work on display at the Clyde
EN: Casual observers sometimes miss details that the more engaged viewer might catch. What are one or two things you'd like to see people notice about your work that they might otherwise miss?

TK: Long ago I enjoyed painting about things I had read. Stories were often inspiration and impetus for getting a painting going. Now I tend to paint about things in my life. Things that make me happy. I also love experimenting with different mediums and textures. Sometimes I will "hide" things in my work. Sometimes things show up that I didn't realize were there. This is why I believe art is magical. Things will appear that you weren't planning or intending. People will see one's work and be influenced in ways never thought of. I have connected with people through my art more times than I can count. It's as if there is a part of me out there connecting with others even though we have not met. If by chance, we should meet, it is like we already know each other a little. That is what art does--not just my art, but The Arts. It creates connections. It is like magic and that is why I love it.

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The above interview appeared in this week's Reader. I will be sharing more of her story in a follow up blog entry later this week. To see more of Kolar's work visit her Etsy store

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