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About Painting

I dream colors.  Not just that I dream in color, sometimes I just dream COLORS.  My love for color is lifelong. I have collected things, sometimes just for their color. On one of our many family trips for house-building supplies during my childhood,  we went to a carpet warehouse, where I discovered the ends of the rolls were full of colorful fuzz. I collected numerous bags, careful to keep them separated by color. I kept them for many years, in clear gallon ziplocs, organized by color family; long after I knew I would not likely have an art project that called for carpet fuzz. But the COLORS! Oh my, I was in love with them.  

Texture is another great pleasure, evident in the the textural application of heavy bodied paint in most of my works.  The canvases themselves are dimensional, with the deep sides providing more of a box to paint than a flat surface. 

I've been painting forever. Long before I could imagine painting on real canvases, I painted my furniture, the floor under my bedroom carpeting, scraps of wood leftover from the house; I even tried paint-by-number, but I rarely finished them according to plan. 

Much later, after school and "real work" and family were more settled, and the always restless artist-spirit insisted on its' share of my time, I began to paint small wooden boxes, then larger papers and mixed media installations. Eager for larger canvas, I painted on our walls, and when I finally had space and time for a studio, the color and texture exploded onto multi-panel pieces, rolls of canvas, the largest panels I could fit in my car, or through the door... and just about anything that stood still, or got in the path of my colors. 

Renee Harp in Action - Aqua Painting

For me it is play, true exuberant unselfconscious expression of the worlds in my head.  It is restoration of my spirit and energy, it is healing, it is connection with the best, happiest, most optimistic parts of myself.  

As I journey in this challenging process of being human, seeking happiness and peace and meaning, it becomes more and more powerfully my philosophy that we see what we seek, both in the physical world, and in the other realms we inhabit. The beauty is always there, along with drama that compels us, and pain that can bring us to our knees. 

When the pain in this world eclipses my ability to see the beauty... that is the recipe for despair.  And so I am wildly passionate about the possibility of beauty in everything, everywhere, everyone, and most importantly... In the ability to see it in ourselves.  

When this perspective comes easily, happiness follows easily as well. But many days it doesn't come automatically.  And on those days, I must choose to see it. To see the beauty, not in denial of reality, but as the most essential component of reality. And on those days when it is truly hard indeed to see... those are the days I am grateful for the people who go about intentionally creating beauty. It is a bridge to hopefulness, to the elevation of this human spirit which strives to remember that gravity doesn't actually act on the spirit.  

And so I must create as well. Everything I see looks like art to me. I translate the world with paint, with color and texture.  And when I look at the world with my artist eye.... It is all beautiful. From the  strangely bright orange blossoms falling out of the tree downtown, to the rusty bolt and washer in the gutter on a rainy day... When I am seeking the beauty, the treasure is there. 

I do this for myself, because I must; for as long as I can remember I have been compelled to add color, glue together, mold and shape my visual environment.  

It is a great source of pleasure, a flow state in which, for a moment, it feels like I could fly. Creating art connects me to the larger energy outside of myself, and to the best parts of myself. 

And I do it for anyone who would enjoy it as well, because it is the greatest source of my happiness to create and share something that brings even a moment of lightness to another person. 

It is with the greatest pleasure that I invite you to look,  to enjoy, to connect with the enormous and wordless power that resides in each of us to create our experience by choosing to see the beauty. 

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