INSIDE THE ARTIST’S STUDIO: Pencil/ Gourds/ Acrylic Artist Rosemarie Rush
What do you think of when you picture the “Wild, Wild West”?
Cowboys and horses? John Wayne movies?
When art lovers think “Wild, Wild West”, Laguna Art-A-Fair artist Rosemarie Rush takes top billing. With over ten years as a festival participant, Rosemarie (known by fellow artists as, “Rosie”), is passionate about all things Western – and, her stellar artwork is a true reflection of her passion. Even her booth space decor transports visitors into the mindset of being in “The Old West”.
Rosie is one of those unique individuals who is equally adept at both left- and right-brain thinking. She works as a mechanical engineer by day, and serves on the Laguna Art-A-Fair Board of Directors as the show’s Business Manager. Her right brain fuels her ability to excel in three different media: colored pencil, acrylic and gourds. Knowing that, it’s difficult to believe that it took Rosie two tries to jury into Laguna Art-A-Fair. However, her perseverance paid off, and Rosie is one of a select few Laguna Art-A-Fair artists who have successfully juried into the show in three separate media categories.
She maintains three different studio areas in her spacious home in Yorba Linda, California (an area known by many as “Horse Country”). According to Rosie, she doesn’t really create her artwork for others; she mainly creates artwork “for herself”. She has outfitted a corner of her ample garage for gourd art production, because sanding, staining and wood burning tasks are best managed outside the home.
Her process typically starts with a design. She then selects a gourd that will best showcase her design idea. Equine and Western themes and Celtic designs play a significant part in her gourd art. Many of the pieces she creates are “canteen” shaped vessels, beautifully decorated with hand-drawn motifs and illustrations, richly colored stains, gold foil, colored pencil enhancements, and stone or glass bead embellishments. She seals finished gourd art with a UV-safe Krylon spray to protect and enrich the look of her work.
Although her approach varies piece to piece, Rosie frequently draws out her designs freehand or uses Press-n-Seal for repetitive patterns. The Press-n-Seal sticks to the gourd and provides a road map for her to wood burn onto the gourd. She blocks out key compositional elements using the wood burner, and uses dental applicators, Q-tips and cotton pads to apply liquid dyes. Some works involve drilling a portion of the gourd wall away to create a layered relief. Other pieces may require a technique known as “lacing” where negative space sections of the gourd are completely removed.
Most of Rosie’s gourd art takes the form of bowls or ornaments – and, although they are not designed to hold liquids, most gourds can accommodate a small glass bowl to hold flowers or candles. She occasionally integrates her gourd art with antique lamp bases or ornate candle holders, and she hopes to add a line of lamps to her extensive body of work.
In addition to exhibiting her work this summer in Laguna Art-A-Fair booth space #A37, Rosie will be participating in the show’s Summer Workshop program, in which she will school participants in many of the techniques she uses to create her beautiful gourds. Topics include cleaning gourds, transferring designs, burning and staining, gold and silver foiling, and embellishing and sealing gourd art. Rosie’s workshops will take place on Saturdays from June 25 through August 20. Call (949) 494-4514 to reserve your space. And, don’t miss the opportunity to see and purchase Rosie’s artwork during the 2016 Laguna Art-A-Fair season in which we celebrate fifty years of fine art! Laguna Art-A-Fair will be open daily from June 24 through August 28.
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