Artist of the Month: Gina Mitsdarfer
In the middle of winter, we long for color. Luckily for us, our Artist of the Month uses color so beautifully, with such joie de vivre, that we are transported. Gina Mitsdarfer is a member of our Girlfriends in Art group (which includes another one of our artists of the month, Lyn Belisle). Gina creates incredibly beautiful books, paintings, and is a master at printmaking. Her art resonates with me, with spectacular colors, design, and boldness. I look - and fall into her paintings, which are drenched in color, filled with subtlety and nuance. She incorporates nature, symbols, and textures in new and inspiring ways. I’m very excited to share her extraordinary work with our Wandering Educators.
Turning Seasons, 9” x 12”, acrylic on paper
Beach Comber, 9” x 12”, acrylic on paper
Blue Hand, 11” x 15”, acrylic on paper
Please tell us about your art...
My art is constantly evolving. In painting, it is an exploration of color and texture and is mostly experimental and intuitive. In bookbinding, it is a way of using my paintings and bringing it down to a structure you can hold in your hands. In photography, it is a method of using images to express natural beauty or to tweak reality with computer manipulation. Whichever medium I choose, it is basically my way of expressing feelings.
Leaves 1, 9” x 12”, acrylic on paper
Teal Islands, 12” x 18”, acrylic on paper
Loughcrew Hillside, Ireland computer-altered photograph
How/when did you start becoming an artist?
In my early life, I was interested in creative writing. Several years ago, however, I took an introduction to acrylic painting class that changed my life; really! Becoming a visual artist was so freeing. Painting without fear, it harkened back to being a child experimenting and playing with joy.
Beneath the Dunes, 12” x 18”, acrylic on paper
Bouquet, 22” x 30”, acrylic on paper
Enlightenment 24” x 30” acrylic on canvas
What do you draw inspiration from?
Travel, nature, and happy accidents fuel my inspiration. Once you start being creative, it is like opening a valve and more ideas keep flowing. I always jot down possibilities, even if I do not have the time or skill right now to do them. Since I love reading, there is usually an art technique book or magazine on my table. I am also curious and inspired by other artists and their work, even in media I do not use.
Celtic Horse, 8.50” x 11” collagraph, acrylic on paper
Leather Travel Journal, 8” x 6” (closed), acrylic paintings inside
Where are your favorite places to create art?
At home. I love being in my studio surrounded by my paintings and assemblages with lots of music. There I dream dreams that slowly grow into finished projects. Since I work full-time, I create in small segments. Breaking down steps and building in little blocks of time, I keep inspired as I steadily work to completion.
Rain Lily, 9” x 12”, acrylic on paper
Threshold, 9” x 12”, acrylic on paper
What do you enjoy creating most?
Acrylic painting, mainly abstract and on watercolor paper, is my favorite. Acrylics are flexible, versatile, and immediate. I love to be surprised by paint. Rarely do I plan in painting sessions--just splash, roll, and smush paint around. The results vary and are often unexpected. It is the mood that washes over me. After a painting session, I feel I have been somewhere else, as if the self I know has disappeared. Is it a transcendental experience? There is a mystical trance of absorption. As I push away from the desk, I am astonished--“Wow! I did that?” Occasionally, I felt that with writing but it is always waiting for me when I paint without constraint.
Tribal Message, 11” x 14”, acrylic on canvas
Spring Splendor, 9” x 12”, acrylic gelatin print on watercolor paper
How can readers find and purchase your art?
Last year, I opened a little Etsy shop. Right now, I have several notebooks available but plan to make larger journals with different paper options and covers. Since finishing leather journals and paintings for several local commissions, I might start adding those, as well.
Fire Dancer, 9” x 12”, acrylic on paper
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
If there is something I’d like to try, something I’m curious about, something that might challenge me, I will probably try it. It is hard to put the brakes on exploring. One art friend calls me a mixed-media artist but I feel more like an artist constantly mixing my media. And way leads on to way. Acrylic painting led me to bookbinding, using my paintings for pockets and covers. Bookbinding led me to try jewelry-making for closures and printing my photos for journal covers. Digital photography led me to image transfers, cards, calendars, and computer altering. When I am tired of working flat, I will switch to 3-D. When I am tired of the strict structure of a journal, I will flip back to painting. When I am uninspired, I will pick up a camera. It is a spiral journey of learning, looping and re-looping, twisting and continuing.
New Mexico Enchantment, 9” x 12”, acrylic on paper
All photos courtesy and copyright Gina Mitsdarfer
Feature photo: Autumn Leaf, original 9” x 12”, acrylic on paper