Drawing and painting are the ways that Norma express her deep connection with nature. Walking or hiking in the mountains where she lives keeps her connected to the land and provides a repository of impressions of time, place, and emotion. Time spent in wilderness nurtures her inner landscape and informs her studio work, where the painting/drawings take on their own journeys.
Out of concern for our environment, Norma is now using simple materials: graphite sticks and powders, inks, mineral pigments and hide glue – all water-soluble and natural. Her supports are rice paper mounted on wood panels.
From her study of Asian Art, ideas of preparation, composition, and the use of vertical panels speak to her. Aesthetics of Shibui such as: contrasting elegant and rough, spontaneity and restraint, and the intention to merge nature with day to day living, are ideas that, drive her artwork and inspire her daily.
The purpose of Norma’s residency is two-fold:
Norma along with Veronica Calarco and 3 other women-artists are on a panel to present arts-based papers at the International Autoethnography Conference Bristol, England, July 19, 20. Part 1, has been getting to know Veronica and Dawne (another resident present as the same time), who is here from Australia; they are all keen about engaging in cultural exchange and considering future collaborations.
For the second part, Norma roamed the landscape of Corris, Wales – and became acquainted with the new environment through hiking and drawing. Given the limitations of international travel, her approach to making art here was minimalistic. In order to avoid the chaos of airport baggage issues, Norma travelled for a one-month stay in the UK with just one carry-on that contained her art supplies, clothing and personal items.
Limitations like this are what Norma thrives in; her supports are papers that fit in a carry-on bag, her materials are graphite (chunks, sticks and a couple ebony pencils), brushes, and a small assortment of gouache. Furthermore, all her drawing is done on location during daily hikes, and from memory in the studio, as she believes that copying from one’s drawings made in the outside environment adds a stiffness and mechanical approach to the paintings; Norma believes this then takes away from the freedom and ever changing nature of the outside world, thus she paints from memory to try and preserve the sense of peace and the feeling of being ‘in the moment’ that walking through nature brings her.