Creating a sense of peace
This story was featured in the November 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
When Shirley Gipson looks at items that others might consider junk, she sees something more—a sense of life in the inanimate, whether it’s an old milk pitcher or a tattered jack-in-the-box toy. The Texas-based still-life artist says she relishes using objects in her tableaux that were once treasured during a bygone era. By depicting objects from the past, she wants to remind viewers of a slower way of life. “It is my desire that the items in my paintings bring simplicity and calm to any environment,” Gipson says, “that viewers enjoy a visual memory that may have been forgotten but was precious and endearing to them. Communicating the quiet simplicity in a still life is the core of my vision.”
Earlier this year Gipson’s painting EGGS AND ENAMEL won a top prize at the Salon International show at Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio, TX. The vision for the piece began one morning when she was cracking some eggs for breakfast, and eggs were the key to the work. “Eggs, in their simplest form, are a representation of the fragility of life,” Gipson says. “Everything living begins with an egg. An egg also has a translucency, coloring, and shape that create a beautiful form—a counterpoint to the straight lines and hard edges of other items that surround it.”
Gipson is primarily a self-taught artist who has learned to paint through trial and error, as well as through online instruction and DVDs from contemporary masters, such as Richard Schmid, Mark Carder, Dan Edmondson, David Leffel, and Sherrie McGraw. She also diligently studied works by the old masters and admired their use of light and shadow to create dramatic effects. But Gipson says her main inspiration springs strictly from within. “The spiritual aspect of art is a strong influence, and I view my painting as an attitude of worship and thankfulness for a treasured gift,” she says. “There are times when I feel blank, uncertain, and empty. It’s during those times I need to be quiet and still. The voice is there; I’m just not listening.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the November 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art November 2013 print issue or digital download
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