OF THE MONTH - AUGUST 2001
CAROL DELANEY - BEYOND PAINTING
by Carol N. Wells
Carol Delaneys paintings capture
movement, and the intricacies of natures details with a creative
abandon that holds the viewer spellbound.
Of her own work Carol says, I want to evoke that sense of
mystery and surprise when out in nature. When you first look around,
you may only see generalities, but then spot a damsel fly or lizard.
The more you look, the more you see and become aware of. Things
become visible that you didnt notice the first time, and so
you continue to look for more.
Carol has accomplished this in her paintings, along with a vibrancy
that compels the viewer to look and find more and more in her artwork.
As I spoke with Carol, I felt she gave voice to the vast subconscious
wellspring that artists draw from.
Carol took some art classes in college, she is basically a self
taught artist who has done artwork all her life and has always been
a person of growth and self expression. Initially, she didnt
want art to be a career. While growing up, she lived behind Vassar
College and spent a lot of time drawing the buildings and vines
that covered them. This was a time when she was very controlled,
drawing every leaf in a vine, and paying close attention to detail
with her felt tip pen. One day, walking back from sketching, a drawing
fell into a puddle, and of course, the ink bled. Carol loved the
result. During college she took an etching class and ended up printing
a piece upside down and on top of itself. It was through these accidents
that Carol felt she had her breakthrough in finding her own uniqueness.
She ventured into a process that was entirely her own. I had
to figure out a way to express the relief pattern in nature (the
positive and negative) and found that I do everything backwards,
Part of that process was due partially, from lack of funds. Carol
used everything she could find as painting tools. The other part
of the process was born out of leaving behind the detailed photo-realism
of her drawings to creating something that evoked some feeling,
some emotion other than, oh thats a pretty barn.
When you let go of control, said Carol, you get
attended Hope College, Grand Valley State University and Michigan
College. With her degree in Special Education, she and her husband
Tom came directly to Moab.
Tom also has a degree in special ed and teaches
at Grand County High School. He studied shamanism with a Lakota
Sioux teacher and had visited Moab, Carol explained, I
loved Georgia OKeefes work and always wanted to come
to the southwest. So I drew a latitude line on the map and anywhere
below that line, I decided I would take a job. It just so happened
there was an advertisement from The Council for Exceptional Children
in Moab, and I was able to take the position. I teach students with
learning disabilities, that are emotionally disturbed and intellectually
handicapped at HMK middle school. But my teaching is very separate
from my artwork.
spent her first year in Moab connecting with the land and the rocks.
She felt that with all the reproductions of petroglyph art she had
encountered, nothing had made her feel them. Her aim
was to bring in that feeling of aliveness, a sense of playfulness,
and an honoring of the sacredness of these symbols. During her second
year living in Moab she painted her first two paintings. Canyon,
was inspired by the area surrounding Flat Pass Trail; and Layers,
involved the area leading to Dark Angel.
Carols aim was true. Her paintings resonate, giving rise to
more and more surprises as they are studied. As Carol puts it, I
try to include that in my paintings - theres always more to
look at in life because the paradigm shifts.
Carols technique has evolved and changed along with her own
evolution. Part of Carols process is, To get connected
to a specific
place and take a bunch of photos. I find that I see a painting and
go back to the place to connect. I look for patterns in nature and
identify what struck me about it; why I find beauty in it. What
will I do with it and what is it about the piece that I want to
say. I look at how to give movement to a non-moving medium. I always
ask myself, what is the intention? With my latest piece,
I wanted to honor the beauty in the water. The piece titled Mitochondria
is about the interconnectedness of everything the stuff that
is alive in everything. Black Dragon was about the beauty
of the Dragon and the movement of the swell. With Abundance,
I wanted to capture and honor the intricacy and mystery of pictographs.
These are the moments when I play with a painting to see what it
becomes. Before I start any painting, I always say, whatever
you become. Then I dive into myself. I play with my intellect
and throw in randomness. I try to open up and let whats inside,
out. I have a theory that nature and its colors go into me and then
come back out of me, and I am changed by it. But it never ends up
like the picture in my head. When its complete, its
always a surprise. Thats when acceptance has to come in. In
my earlier art-making years, I was always asking the question, Is
it, and therefore, am I, good enough? There is a type of blindness
that goes on for me, because the picture in my head doesnt
look like the picture on the page so it must not be good enough.
I found out pretty early, that you cant get love from doing
art. Trying to draw or paint pretty enough is entrenched with, your
picture is so wonderful, you must be wonderful. Revolving
around all of it really, is self acceptance. That acceptance and
rejection is an internal process rather than personal rejection
from others. So, the axiom of am I good enough has instead
become, This is what I am. This is what my artwork is.
When you get your emotional health in order, your creativity can
blossom. It becomes indicative of the beauty and harmony in your
talking with Carol she admitted that the fear of starting any new
painting is a given. I cant imagine what it would be
like not to have angst when beginning a new piece of work. But,
even when I have to present to galleries, theres a certain
amount of fear. So the fear just moves around.
Carol calls her paintings her friends since it is like looking at
a part of herself and liking those parts of herself. For Carol,
realizing why she paints and why she is an artist are the same reasons
that apply to many creative endeavors. It is, as Carol puts it,
because these images have not existed before and Im
the only one who can do them.
Although Carol began with small drawings, her paintings now average
30 x 40 framed and matted. It takes Carol about four
8 to 10 hour days to complete one painting. She has employed the
print process of gicleé (pronounced gee-clay) on photo satin
paper to reproduce her artwork. This process captures intricate
details and delicate color changes much better than the standard
4-color separation process. Carols husband, Tom Eyler, who
is also a writer, produces the art cards that talk about the areas
that inspired each piece. It is Toms way of honoring and being
grateful to the area along with an opportunity to educate people
about caring for the land. Both Tom and Carol share an idea of collaborating
on a book.
gicleé prints are available at The Rock Gallery, Bucks
Grill House, High Desert Gifts, El Carpintero and Uncle Beebops.
Her prints vary in sizes that range in average of small 10
x 15, medium 22 x 17, large 33 x 25
and retail from $50 to $225.
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