Creating visual puzzles
This story was featured in the May 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art May 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art May 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
VISITORS to Darcie Copeland’s website can do more than view her works; they can also play a game. Copeland invites viewers to solve rebus puzzles—visual riddles where pictures represent words or phrases. The California-based still-life painter says the idea occurred to her about five years ago when she wanted to bake a pie for use in one of her tableaux. Feeling unmotivated, she sifted through piles and piles of recipes searching for inspiration. “Suddenly I thought it would be easier to just use items that described the pie instead,” Copeland says. “And as a result, a painting called KEY LIME PI became the start of my series.” The still life features a key, several limes, and a recipe. To reference “pi” she included 3.14 limes, painted the recipe on page 314, and hid the number 3.14 in the recipe.
Today her witty pieces include rebuses such as DOG DAYS OF SUMMER, which depicts a calendar for the month of July with an image of a dog wearing sunglasses. Another visual puzzle called SHRIMP GUM BOW portrays a gumball machine that contains a shrimp; the machine is tied on top with a bow.
As a young girl Copeland took oil-painting classes and has always felt she was “stuffed with creativity.” In 1985 she launched her career on the commercial side of art, starting a company that created custom, hand-lettered signs. She continued to study color theory, take fine-art classes, and learn the techniques of the old masters. As time passed, her direction gradually shifted from commercial graphics to fine art. These days she is a member of the International Guild of Realism, Oil Painters of America, Women Artists of the West, and the California Art Club.
Copeland says she also enjoys painting landscapes, but her artistic heart belongs to the still-life genre, where she can express her love of detail, variety, and humor. “My personality lends itself to the humorous side of life, which allows me to express myself through my work, while I continually strive to stretch the boundaries of my viewer’s imagination.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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