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Dara's Fine Art

Miranda, CA

"The natural world and my love for animals are what inspire my mixed-media paintings. I combine bold colors and shapes and lots of textures to create fun, playful interpretations of horses and other animal spirits. I also enjoy painting landscapes as well as abstracts that are just about colors and shapes. For all my paintings, I combine all the available elements of design to express rhythms and energy and moods and emotion."
I decided in the early '80s to move from my hometown in rural Michigan to study art in Northern California. My education includes an MA degree from Humboldt State University, Arcata, California, and a BA degree from Chico, California State University, Chico, CA. I also attended College of the Siskiyous, Weed, California, Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, California, and Lake Michigan College, Benton Harbor, Michigan.

While attending college, I gained extensive experience in figure drawing and most painting mediums, but my focus was mainly on sculpture techniques and the female form. My graduate show consisted of life-sized, expressionistic, figurative sculptures made of cement and steel. After I graduated in 1989, I continued to build sculptures from the same materials and also in wood and clay until 2009.

Then after a year hiatus, I transitioned, left sculpting behind, and began to paint first in Pastel then, in oil and Acrylics. Also, at that time, my subject matter changed from the human form to nature and included: landscapes of wildflowers, trees with birds, marshes, and creeks.

In 2016 I needed a new challenge and began painting the horse, and this brought a renewed inspiration and excitement to my creative process. I discovered I loved the bold shapes of horses and capturing the horse spirit and horses in motion.

Recently, I decided to add other animals to my portfolio. And since I have always admired bears and consider them an excellent totem animal, the bear is my first choice. I am finding they are great to paint as well.

All my paintings since 2016 are Acrylics on canvas. I have often used palette knives to apply Acrylic mediums such as molding pastes and gels to build up forms and add rich textures. In 2019, I began layering squares and rectangles of handmade papers with Gesso to the surface of my canvases before applying paint. Doing this creates a textured, grid-like pattern while adding interest and depth to each of my paintings.

Most recently, I began a new series of large and small abstracts that are just about; color, tones, shapes, angles, curves, and texture. It is refreshing and incredibly freeing for me not to think about a subject. Instead, I can respond to just colors combined with other visual elements and how it feels. But, not unlike my figurative paintings, my abstracts are expressive and interpretive as I continue to be spontaneous and intuitive during my process. I also turn each of my abstract paintings on all sides while I develop them to ensure that they can work in any direction.
Wescover creator since 2020

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