Donna Walsh

 
 
 

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Donna Walsh

Donna Walsh

21st Century Remodernist Artist & Scientist whose art communicates spirituality and emotional impact of the natural world.

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Many of my earliest memories center on images and art. For example, I was in the first or second grade when I and a number of my schoolmates were selected to paint in a downtown store window. I still recall my excitement when I realized I could use all the paper I wanted. The organizers provided a delightful musical background for the event, cementing my love of painting and music

.Over the years, getting an education and earning a living forced art in the “occasional hobby” niche in my life. My interests were eclectic; I was a devout follower of some early television drawing courses and produced an abundance of folk art pieces in fabric, ceramics, and wood. While most of my career has been in medical technology, I feel this has just prepared the
dormant artist within as when I retired in 2008 I took some art classes. The clinical chemist part of me became extremely intrigued with the science and chemistry of watercolor painting. All the marvelous interactions of color and light took me back to my Med Tech days, working with stains and spectrophotometry. Watercolor paints, for me, became the fusion of aesthetics and science. I felt like all the chemistry and technology in my background and experience was manifesting in my art; the emotions and expressions of my soul were coming out the paint brush and onto the paper. The intermingling of the science and the art is one of my greatest pleasures.
I was content with just the satisfaction of creation, but then I won first place in an art exhibit and actually sold that painting. I hadn’t considered Professional Painting… until then. Simply, my goal was to create art for myself. Until then, I hadn’t considered the exhilaration that could come from touching other through my work. I’m drawn to watercolor by its transparency and the way light interacts with it. Beyond the obvious aspects of color and line, value is what most interests me. In all my paintings, I want to develop difference in value to give it a depth and feeling of movement. I tried to be meticulous in my work, something that came naturally when, as a medical technologist, I would be drawing pictures of blood cells and tissue sections. However, now there is spontaneity, a freedom, that I hadn’t felt before. The image flows freely from my brush. Planning is a “before thing.” Something that occurs before my fingers touch the brush and the brush touches the color. After that, it is a time of emotion and caress of brush against paper.
In my search for a distinct aesthetic voice, I’ve been doing landscapes, figures and floral's, but such a process takes time, and at this time, my heart holds a tumult of the learned and sensed. Winnowing them through experience is refining the apparent cacophony is a matter of time and experience. My decision process is a merger of careful planning and inspiration. This was operative in paint, brush paper selection and just about every tool needed. In other words, left brain activity in the planning. But once I begin, I shift to the right brain and allow the paints and the images before me to guide the brush.
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Each painting begins with a story or emotion I want to share. Painting is a very spiritual thing to me. In painting, time and space vanish and I’m part of the cosmos rather than outside and observing. It isn’t a linear process because the act of painting opens new windows to what I want to paint. I love colors; working spontaneously and watching the image and the emotion take shape on the paper. When I paint, it’s collaboration between my soul and my training with each overcoming the limitations of the other and supporting its strengths. Purple, rose and the members of that family seem to be the hues most common in my watercolor expressions. At this point, my central themes have been nature based: trees, plants, birds and the eternal sea. However, I’m also fascinated on how humanity interacts in a harmonious way with nature so I’ve done a number of paintings of old buildings and historic communities to show how we can work with nature without an inherent dissonance. When there is a respect and reverence
I hope a viewer can feel a sense of intimate engagement. I want them to see the communication my own soul received from what I was looking at expressed in a tangible form. I’ve tried to capture that moment in time and preserve it so that others can enjoy it. Through this, I hope that they can communicate with their soul and touch all that things that bring them peace, harmony and joy. I hope that my mystical feelings come out in my art and through images that are symbolic to me such as rainbows, water, sunlight, floating and movement.
My original motivation was essentially selfish. I love beauty and I love to be surrounded by beauty. Watercolor was a way to fulfill these goals, but as production led to protection and my walls filled, friends approached me for prints and some who approached did not just out of friendship, but as my paintings whispered to me, they whispered to others. There was an epiphany. I wasn’t just admiring and appreciating art; I was creating it.
My influences have largely been the impressionist and abstract artists including Monet, Kandinsky, Cezanne, and in particular, Marc Chagall. His work is so fluid, so spiritual. My style feels closest to the Remodernists whose realism is shaped by an awareness of the purpose of the work and its spiritual aspects, concepts that resonate with me.
I like to see myself as part of continuing process that stretches back to the beginnings of humanity. Art is ever changing as it moves from primitive representations, the Old Masters, impressionists and the current scene. To this end, I’ve done a great deal of study.
Slowly, the community of painters including the Delray Art League and the Cultural Arts Center in Delray Beach ceased to be simply a source of information about art and a whet upon which to sharpen my work; they became true colleagues with whom I could share successes and cushion failures.