Many artists dream of being nationally known and collected, but collage artist and painter D’Ann Bourne is on her way to accomplishing that. D’Ann is a member of the Shasta County Arts Council and North Valley Art League in Redding and the Highland Gallery in Weaverville. She is a regular exhibitor at Redding’s Studio Experience, but has recently thrown her artistic net nationally, becoming a whirlwind self-promotion machine and developing strategies for getting her work out there.
In the last two years, D’Ann was accepted in national shows in Colorado, Texas, South Carolina and Santa Cruz and has entries pending in juried exhibits for the Kansas Watercolor Society, the “Rio Brazos” show at Tarleton State University in Texas, the National Collage Society and the Arts Society in Gig Harbor, Washington.
I chatted with D’Ann about coming out of her creative cocoon late in life and balancing art and life, as she prepared for 2nd Saturday ArtHop, which is this weekend in Redding.
When did you really start creating/painting?
I feel that I have always been creative. My grandmother was a poet and other family members were musicians. So, with their guidance, I followed their path. I wrote short stories and played in the high school orchestra. But, I never considered myself artistic. It was our way of life. I went to the North Valley Art League about two years ago to view the art. I became a member, only to support the arts in Shasta County. That Saturday completely changed my life.
What pulled you into the world of art?
Two weeks after I joined the North Valley Art League, I received an unexpected phone call from a League member, Maryann Brackett. She is such a talented watercolorist. She came to my home and brought gifts to me: paper, a brush, watercolors and several instructional DVDs. She told me to “just try it.” I still have the first painting I did of a tree. There is no doubt that Maryann’s kind generosity opened the first artistic door for me.
Now think back a bit. What is the first thing you remember creating?
I am not sure I would refer to it as “creating.” However, I did paint in Vacation Bible School. I do remember my grandmother telling me that my colors on Joseph’s coat were terribly bright and that perhaps I should tone them down. Since she left it as my choice, Joseph wore an orange and purple robe.
Who has influenced you the most in your creative process?
My husband is my support. He is a photographer and a realist, so he does not understand my art. But he accepts my need to create it and tell my story to the viewer. There are so many wonderful and supportive artists here in Shasta County. I took part in Troy (Hawkins’) “Artist’s Way” class at Hawkman Studios. This helped me find my own artistic direction. Micky Theobald and Shirley Barone of the Studio Experience Gallery here in Redding fully support my use of color. This means so much to me since I can stray from the “rules.” And, finally, the most recent influence is from the artist Virginia Cobb. My goal is to attend her classes in Santa Fe.
Which do you like better: collage or acrylic painting? Was it a natural progression from one to another?
Collage was my first artistic success, so I have an emotional bond to that style. Since I am beginning to paint larger pieces, using acrylics is a natural progression. Acrylic also gives me the opportunity to work with more variance and layering of color. The result can be a dynamic painting.
Tell us what you do by day. How does your work life coexist with your artistic life?
I like the structure of going to work each day. It keeps me focused and directed, since I must adapt to the constant changes in the insurance industry. I have always tried to keep my personal life separate from my work environment, even before I started painting. I do paint and study every night and many weekends. My painting and my husband’s photography gives unity to our life. And, we enjoy every minute.
You have been proactive about entering juried shows. Share some of what you’ve learned.
I am selective about the organizations that are advertising and soliciting art for their exhibit. I usually submit to only national shows sponsored by local art organizations or leagues that have artists as members. I always check the website of the art organization and review the length of time in business, past shows and scheduled future exhibits. Another important item to review is the length of the show and also security of the venue. By following these steps, I have enjoyed the process of sharing my art.
Tell us a bit about your show that opens this weekend. Any favorite pieces?
Parmers Furniture is a wonderful venue for all styles of art. I have selected pieces that represent various techniques, some experimental, that I hope everyone will enjoy. It is difficult for me to select a favorite. While they are my “creation,” each painting has given something back to me: a question resolved, an opportunity to share a story or perhaps raise another question. This is the reason I paint.
What can we expect next?
I have so many plans and goals. I want to begin working on large canvas. This is a major change for me since I am so comfortable and enjoy working with paper. The integrity of my art is one of my primary concerns so I have always wanted it to be framed. However, canvas is the choice for a large painting. I will also continue to explore more experimental non-objective art.
See D’Ann’s work through August at Parmer’s Furniture, 333 Park Marina Circle, Redding. Meet D’Ann at a reception for the artist this weekend at Parmer’s, during Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop, 6 to 9 p.m., Sat., Aug. 14. Click here for ArtHop maps and information.
Adam Mankoski is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studios and are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your NorthState weekend events to firstname.lastname@example.org.