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New Leaf Market Co-op Community Art Wall Featured Artist of the Month: Bridget Noel Welch

Natural Times, July/August 2019

Get to know our July artist  — Bridget Noel Welch

When did you first become interested in art?

I have always been interested in art.  I can remember being four, and waking up and sitting down to color immediately at a little table in my bedroom.  I remember making a cardinal out of construction paper in art in 1st grade, and gluing the eye on differently than I meant to, and having it serendipitously look even more realistic than I’d intended.
I loved experimenting with all the different media we used in school art classes, and seemed to have an aptitude for a lot of it and abundant creativity.  I also love writing, making music, and dancing.

I discovered my love of painting during my senior year of high school.  My best friend took painting class, and she got really into it, so when I went to her house, we’d paint.  We would paint on anything we could find—paper bags, pieces of cardboard, an oxford shirt, my Converse Chuck Taylors, my jean shorts, my boyfriend’s arm, and my rusty old 1980 Honda Accord…

Another thing worth noting that affected and continues to affect my art, is my older sister said, when I was about four and we were coloring in activity coloring books, “When we color these in, we’re bringing them to life.”  For me, it still feels that way.  Doing visual art feels to me like I’m doing some kind of magic.

Did you go to art school, and, if so, where?

I didn’t go to art school.  I began painting at the end of high school, and in college at University of Central Florida, I took Art 2-D Design and Drawing I because they were prerequisites for the Painting class.  I learned a lot about art, and learned that I could draw well if I took my time and really looked at things.  As it turned out, I never took the Painting class, as I got more involved in my major which was Anthropology, and also because I let myself be intimidated by a tiny, grouchy art student who whined that she didn’t like when non-art majors took up space in the Art classes.  I laugh about it now, but I was easier to intimidate back then.  I tell this story now to encourage others to ignore people like her and follow their passions no matter what other people say.

I have thus been largely self-taught.  I have painted over the years for my own enjoyment, my own expression, finding it very satisfying and not caring much what others thought of it, as it was the act of painting that pleased me most of all.  In more recent years, I felt it was time to share my art more in the world, so I have begun to participate in art shows.  I like booking shows, because it encourages me to produce more art.  Some stages of life, I have put painting aside, feeling too busy working, raising a family, etc.  Committing to an art show means I have to paint, I can’t put my passion aside, so it’s a built in way to make sure I do what I love.

Which artist of the past would you most like to meet?

Vincent Van Gogh has always intrigued me.  When I was a younger person, I think his mental illness was intriguing to me.  I always liked people who were different, and I might have had a codependent draw to people who could’ve used some extra love.  I’ve channeled that urge to heal into my Massage Therapy and Yoga teaching practices now. 

But regarding his art, I have always loved his thick paint, the textures, and I sense a lot of passion in his brush strokes and color choices. There’s a raw passion in his art and simultaneously masterful skill.  I read part of Dear Theo in a Humanities class at UCF, and I just find him an interesting person.  If I met him, I think I might enjoy simply watching him paint, but I would also enjoy getting to talk to him.

What is your favorite art gallery and why?

I have loved the Salvador Dali museum in Sarasota since I went on a field trip with my Humanities Honors class at University of Central Florida.  Again, my fascination with unusual characters made me appreciate Dali.  I loved his dream inspired, Surrealist work.  I made many trips back down there while I was still living in Orlando.  I used to go to the library at UCF and sit on the floor and look at the books of art.  I’d pour through volumes of art by Michelangelo, DaVinci, Monet, Van Gogh, etc.  I looked at all the Surrealists, but Dali was my favorite at that time.  His images were so well rendered yet so bizarre.  He’s actually a close tie for me with Van Gogh on artists I’d like to meet.

What is your creative process like?

My creative process is organic and I must find myself in a calm state for best results.  My daily Kundalini Yoga practice helps me find the state to let inspiration hit.  There may also be dancing around the house, time in nature, or drinking coffee in the back yard listening to birds, before any art gets created.  Sometimes I put on a tiara.  I’m kind of my own muse. I have to invite inspiration by letting my introverted self totally be me.

When creating paintings, I sometimes experiment first with an image or concept by drawing with pencil, markers, or gel pens on paper.  I may do one or a few drawings of something before painting.  Other times, I find a picture in a book, in my photos, or online and use it as a reference, going right into painting it.  I may be guided by a recent interest, like when I went through a queen bee phase, or by something I notice in nature, like, “I’ve heard a lot of Southern Barred Owls lately…Oh!  I should paint one.”  I love to paint real things from nature often because I like having to look closely at Mother Nature’s creations and revel in their beauty.  If I don’t draw before painting, I sketch out the basic shapes of the drawing on the canvas using a lighter color paint, and then as I go, I add more layers of color and the image gets more and more defined, eventually ending with the darkest outlines and shadows and the brightest highlights, which really bring it to life.

To purchase art from Bridget Noel Welch, you can contact her via email at infinipede@juno.com and  telephone at 850-284-7136.


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