I am an Artist! That is "Who I Am and What I Do."
Hello! I am Hazel Stone. I will tell you the "who, what, and why" about me.
To begin my story, I grew up in a family with two older brothers. I necessarily had to defend myself, amuse myself and find my own way. So I have always been a rather independent and self-directed person. This strength has helped me in all aspects of my life. I have often needed to be my own best friend.
Even as a child, I had an "artist's eye," looking and squinting at objects, colors, lights, shadows, afterimages, color combinations and shapes. Art supplies and drawing books were the only things I really, really wanted to have or buy. I would find materials that I could use to draw, sketch and make things for myself or gifts for others. My Art teacher in Junior High School gave me an A+ on my report card with the comment that I had "Talent in Art." That must have stayed with me as the primary direction for my life.
I might have been drawn naturally to study Architecture, Interior Design, Art or Home Economics. However, I followed my parents' wishes to get my college degree in Nursing at the University of Utah. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree and Registered Nurse Certification. After marriage, I taught Medical-Surgical Nursing to Sophomore Students for 2 1/2 years. My first daughter was born, then three years later, my second daughter arrived. Motherhood was very important to me and I wanted to be a "stay-at-home mom." I sewed, knitted and did all kinds of creative projects with and for my girls. Still the fascination for the Arts continued and I found various classes to study whatever interested me including Stained Glass, Ceramics, Oil Painting, Pastels, Watercolor Painting, then various workshops followed. Art History classes seemed to solidify the idea that "Art was my Passion." I have been seriously involved in art since the 1970s and my "Passion for Art" increases!
I heard that Watercolor was the most difficult medium. Well, there was the challenge! I have worked with watermedia ever since. Now, I work in watercolor, watermedia, acrylic, gouache, inks, collage, acrylic textures, iridescent and metallic paints selectively, of course, not all at once! The surface is watercolor paper or sometimes Yupo, a synthetic sheet which does not absorb the water or pigment. I love the new challenges of Yupo with the exciting results and texture that are possible. However careful handling is necessary and disaster can result from a sneeze, damp finger or accidentally misplaced brush stroke.
I usually don't paint from photographs, still-life set ups or paint landscapes on location. I prefer to paint intuitively, with images from my memory as I express my feelings, interests and experiences. Since I know that I can paint anything that I can see, I challenge myself to get more complicated, to discover new ways of working and to achieve innovative and unique results.
I have done several series of subjects. My Sculptural Series and Symbol Series include various basic ideas. My crossword puzzle paintings cover many categories but primarily refer to People, Places and Things. My food and cooking series of paintings have been fun. Sometimes the title of the painting will come first then the design follows, for instance, "Duck Soup," "Sweet Potato Pie," "Pizza" and "Red, White and Blueberry Pie." So I start with the basic concept that needs development. When I am satisfied with the composition and the various components of the drawing, I transfer it to watercolor paper and begin to paint. Usually I do not know what the painting will look like until I have worked on it for a while. The painting will tell me what it needs to make it complete. So, I do listen to the painting itself, but not always to my critics.
Lately, I have enjoyed a new direction, that of Experimental Abstraction. When I work abstractly and intuitively, the process is much freer and spontaneous. I am not tempted to work as loosely as some artists since I seem to want to be in control. The finished image is more likely to be a play of light and dark, color contrasts, line, shape and design with little or no recognizable subject matter. I like to have the work speak for itself and be open to the interpretation or the impresson of the viewer.
I am often asked "How long did that painting take to do?" I am not sure about the reason that question is asked. Perhaps it is to get an idea of how much time it actually takes to create something or maybe it is a way of finding out if the price is reasonable. Either way, it takes as long as it takes. I can't keep track of my process. Some say it has taken all their lives to paint something.
Being an artist is a personal, individual, solitary life. Thankfully, I enjoy my own company. I participate in several critique groups which provide responses, feedback and suggestions which I can incorporate or not as I choose. I am surrounded by many wonderful artist friends locally and nationally who share my passion. We spur each other on to strive for higher achievements and adventures and are good, supportive friends in all ways. I think artists are mostly loving and giving people who share the joys and achievements of their artist friends world-wide. It really is a lovely way of life.
As an artist, I create art and I create my life. No one can do that for me. The ability to make art and make my own life enables me to create a life that is very rewarding even under challenging circumstances. Usually artists live long, enjoyable lives, so gradually I am creating a legacy and my life story. So, I am an artist! That is "Who I Am and What I Do."
I wonder what my next endeavor will produce. It will come from my heart!