To step into the new Morris Gallery of Contemporary Art in the MVC Technology building to admire the 100 painting by Margaret Owens feels like walking on the grass, bare-foot during spring.
Fresh, energetic, free and warm, the exhibit could be used as Margaret Owen’s self-portrait. From Providence, R.I., she is the first artist to show work in the new art gallery. Owen spoke to students and others about her artwork on Tuesday morning, Aug. 30, before an evening ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new gallery.
Owen enjoys how artists translate their visual experience into two dimensions by breaking things down into more basic forms and colors, she said.
Indeed, colors and dimensions are two main features in Owen’s work. Owen’s oil paintings are bright with contrast in the colors. She constantly plays with the hot colors (red, yellow, hot pink, etc.) and cold colors (navy blue, gray, etc.). The “Child Under Water” painting in the exhibit is one of the perfect examples.
Another word that jumps out of her work is: reliefs. She loves the thick bits that give physicality to her work, she said. It is hard not to want to reach for that fruit that seems to coming out of the frame!
“If you are willing to make a fool of yourself, that’s when you are good at it,” Owen said, while explaining a couple of tips for the artists-to-become present at the gallery that day.
Messing up and repetition are also master keys, she said. Her whole exhibit is based on her daily painting blog, where she commits herself to paint or sketch something from life or a photograph every day.
Owen showed students what she sees as flaws in her work, the one she is not really fond of, and her favorites.
“How do you start on something that overwhelms you?” Matt Moyer, adjunct Art instructor, asked. Draw a thumbnail sketch of anything you want to draw, she answered. She also invited the students present to take any type of pen and do a quick sketch of anything around them.
From all the Quentin Blake alike-sketches (Quentin Blake is the illustrator of the novel “Matilda” by Roald Dahl), Howes’ drawing was probably one of the best. He is an Art freshman majoring in Graphic Design. “Ninety-five percent of what I draw is because I think it is funny,” he said.
But here again, Owen pointed out the fact that judging your own paint or work tends to take the creativity away, she said.
“Worrying about the outcome is the difficult part,” she added.
What would be her three words to say to help out any beginner or artist in hesitation? “Just do it!” she said. It can be quick and short; sometimes do not labor over things, she added.