When getting in one particular of Andrea Durfee’s vivid watercolor or acrylic paintings that seamlessly, pretty much imperceptibly, mix human types with landscapes, it’s tough to believe she just wings it. No preliminary sketches. No coloration reports.
“If I have the impulse, then I am going to sit down and just sketch on the precise canvas or the paper and go from there,” Durfee claims. “The first factor that is laid out is the figure, and then I establish the landscape about it. So it really is very a lot paying awareness to the body positioning, and what emotion that is communicating.”
The human figures are subtly embedded into sweeping backdrops of nature. A reclining lady gets to be a mountain range. A girl curled up resembles a boulder. A lady lounging dissolves into the dunes about her. They are sleeping giants, at 1 with the purely natural environment. She has so skillfully positioned the figures that, at a look, it’s quick to skip them.
In some works, the figure is purposely outstanding. She may possibly be a silhouette in the foreground, her frame working as a portal to another planet crammed with lush flora beneath a starry night sky. Just one lady stares into a cup she holds, as even though studying tea leaves. Waterfalls cascade from the outstretched hands of a woman into a lake reflecting the moon. There is one thing sacred and mystical about them.
“I make dreamscapes meshing figures with landscapes as expressions of the journey to wellness,” Durfee claims in her artist statement. “My function focuses on themes of private mythology, electric power, and dichotomous balance. Figures embody each power and fragility, and geological procedures frequently provide as metaphor for human encounter.”
In March, she is arranging to release a new sequence of paintings titled “Seers,” which she suggests discover connecting with unperceived energy and energy.
Durfee, 36, analyzed studio artwork and imaginative arts treatment at Nazareth College or university and functions out of a house studio in the South Wedge. But her do the job has observed an audience further than Rochester.
Paige Stanley, of Washington, D.C., is a collector of Durfee’s artwork. She bought her first piece a calendar year in the past for a good friend who was owning a baby and states she was drawn to Durfee’s perform simply because it conveyed natural beauty and toughness. Given that then, she has amassed originals and prints for herself, commissioned a lake scene, and gave is effective to friends as a gesture of solace all through the pandemic.
Just one of her favorites is a portray called “Aries” that depicts a female reclining more than a mesa, a pastel sky mirrored in a river that snakes toward large crimson blooms in the foreground.
“It’s just a peaceful, really calming form of focal level with some really gorgeous shades, but also has a extremely appealing standpoint,” Stanley claims. “It’s kind of an escape, the depth allows you get dropped in it.”
Often Durfee’s paintings are accompanied by very little poems designed “in conversation” with the finished piece, a apply that she credits, along with her intuitive method, to her teaching at Nazareth.
“I uncover that it is a definitely therapeutic process pulling jointly your ideas and having to pay consideration to your have psychological knowledge, what’s going on internally, rather of making an attempt to put your will out on to the paper,” she claims.
Her intuitive approach should not suggest she is not drawing from a wellspring of produced techniques. All through her undergraduate decades, Durfee centered mostly on printmaking, precisely reduction block prints — a system of alternating carving layers of designs from a single block of linoleum and printing a coloration for every layer, until the block is depleted and the print has layers of colours that kind a photo.
“I beloved viewing this piece of linoleum go from a entire sheet to very little,” Durfee says. “And the physical labor of performing that out was seriously gratifying.”
Durfee only took 1 painting class, but claims she rediscovered portray later on when she no extended had entry to a printing press. Recently, she started out experimenting with electronic artwork. She utilizes the Procreate software to create electronic paintings some animated, bringing her beings to life.
“I imagine that I desired to kind of unearth some distinctive emotions although I was creating, and a medium switch-up is sometimes a definitely terrific way to do that,” she states.
Her topic make a difference stems from blended influences. Durfee claims her mother was a ballet teacher, and that she was a dancer herself in her youth, working towards ballet, tap, and contemporary dance. She says dance has informed her human body consciousness and desire in figures. But the hints of the fantastical in her paintings appear from growing up obsessed with fairies and mythology.
“I definitely gravitated to that variety of interior fantasy or the opportunity for connecting with some thing that was not available to our eyes,” she states. “And that’s in no way seriously absent away.”
Durfee’s landscapes are dreamed up — other than in the conditions of commissioned paintings of precise areas. But some of the blooms in her the latest will work are referenced from photographs posted by local flower firm Pistil & Pollen. Durfee references her possess kind for most of the figures, but suggests she’s starting up to question close friends to design for her.
“I imagine that my depictions of landscapes are really purely internal method,” Durfee says. “Living in Rochester, we obviously really don’t have access to a ton of these desertscapes or coastal imagery that I arrive up with.
“I imagine it is almost certainly a little bit of escapism that permits me to perform by means of serious-lifetime challenges,” she goes on. “It’s virtually like producing just a minimal manifestation piece that captures that electric power that I’m striving to faucet into.”
Rebecca Rafferty is CITY’s life editor. She can be reached at [email protected]