While taking in one particular of Andrea Durfee’s vibrant watercolor or acrylic paintings that seamlessly, virtually imperceptibly, mix human sorts with landscapes, it is tricky to believe that she just wings it. No preliminary sketches. No coloration studies.
“If I have the impulse, then I am going to sit down and just sketch on the genuine canvas or the paper and go from there,” Durfee states. “The initial matter that’s laid out is the determine, and then I make the landscape about it. So it’s pretty much shelling out attention to the physique positioning, and what emotion that is communicating.”
The human figures are subtly embedded into sweeping backdrops of mother nature. A reclining girl results in being a mountain selection. A girl curled up resembles a boulder. A girl lounging dissolves into the dunes about her. They are sleeping giants, at one particular with the organic environment. She has so skillfully positioned the figures that, at a glance, it is effortless to miss out on them.
In some works, the determine is purposely outstanding. She might be a silhouette in the foreground, her frame working as a portal to a further environment filled with lush flora under a starry evening sky. One particular girl stares into a cup she holds, as though looking through tea leaves. Waterfalls cascade from the outstretched fingers of a girl into a lake reflecting the moon. There is a thing sacred and mystical about them.
“I produce dreamscapes meshing figures with landscapes as expressions of the journey to wellness,” Durfee states in her artist statement. “My get the job done focuses on themes of personalized mythology, energy, and dichotomous balance. Figures embody the two energy and fragility, and geological processes frequently serve as metaphor for human expertise.”
In March, she is preparing to launch a new series of paintings titled “Seers,” which she states take a look at connecting with unperceived energy and energy.
Durfee, 36, examined studio art and resourceful arts therapy at Nazareth School and works out of a home studio in the South Wedge. But her get the job done has found an viewers beyond Rochester.
Paige Stanley, of Washington, D.C., is a collector of Durfee’s art. She acquired her initial piece a calendar year in the past for a close friend who was having a newborn and states she was drawn to Durfee’s get the job done due to the fact it conveyed splendor and energy. Due to the fact then, she has amassed originals and prints for herself, commissioned a lake scene, and gave works to friends as a gesture of solace throughout the pandemic.
One particular of her favorites is a painting named “Aries” that depicts a girl reclining in excess of a mesa, a pastel sky mirrored in a river that snakes toward giant crimson blooms in the foreground.
“It’s just a tranquil, pretty calming sort of focal stage with some seriously attractive shades, but also has a pretty attention-grabbing viewpoint,” Stanley states. “It’s sort of an escape, the depth allows you get shed in it.”
Normally Durfee’s paintings are accompanied by tiny poems created “in conversation” with the finished piece, a exercise that she credits, along with her intuitive system, to her education at Nazareth.
“I discover that it is a seriously therapeutic system pulling collectively your thoughts and shelling out attention to your own emotional expertise, what is going on internally, alternatively of hoping to put your will out onto the paper,” she states.
Her intuitive technique shouldn’t advise she is not drawing from a wellspring of produced techniques. Throughout her undergraduate a long time, Durfee concentrated generally on printmaking, exclusively reduction block prints — a strategy of alternating carving levels of styles from a single block of linoleum and printing a coloration for every single layer, till the block is depleted and the print has levels of shades that variety a photo.
“I cherished observing this piece of linoleum go from a complete sheet to nothing,” Durfee states. “And the actual physical labor of working that out was seriously gratifying.”
Durfee only took one particular painting study course, but states she rediscovered painting later on on when she no for a longer period experienced entry to a printing press. A short while ago, she started experimenting with digital art. She works by using the Procreate software to produce digital paintings some animated, bringing her beings to everyday living.
“I believe that I required to sort of unearth some various feelings when I was developing, and a medium switch-up is at times a seriously terrific way to do that,” she states.
Her topic make a difference stems from blended influences. Durfee states her mother was a ballet teacher, and that she was a dancer herself in her youth, practising ballet, faucet, and present day dance. She states dance has educated her physique consciousness and fascination in figures. But the hints of the fantastical in her paintings arrive from developing up obsessed with fairies and mythology.
“I seriously gravitated in the direction of that sort of interior fantasy or the probable for connecting with a thing that was not offered to our eyes,” she states. “And that’s never seriously gone absent.”
Durfee’s landscapes are dreamed up — besides in the situations of commissioned paintings of particular places. But some of the blooms in her current works are referenced from pictures posted by community flower organization Pistil & Pollen. Durfee references her own variety for most of the figures, but states she’s beginning to talk to friends to design for her.
“I believe that my depictions of landscapes are seriously purely interior manner,” Durfee states. “Living in Rochester, we definitely really don’t have entry to a whole lot of these desertscapes or coastal imagery that I arrive up with.
“I believe it is in all probability a little bit of escapism that permits me to get the job done via true-everyday living difficulties,” she goes on. “It’s virtually like developing just a tiny manifestation piece that captures that energy that I am hoping to faucet into.”
Rebecca Rafferty is CITY’s everyday living editor. She can be achieved at [email protected]