The Heart Surges - A Review, by Artist /Writer, C.J. Shane

Back in 2012.... artist and accomplished writer, C.J. Shane posted a review of my ink and watercolor painting, The Heart Surges. It's always a bit surreal/fascinating when someone looks deeper into my work and then offers their unique perspective. I love what Shane wrote...she understood the essence of my art which begins with my own layered approach to storytelling. It's years later now, and I have come upon her words again. I'm still honored by what she wrote and I invite you to read her review (below my painting post) and offer your own interpretation of The Heart Surges, if so inclined. 

The Heart Surges - original watercolor by Shell Rummel shellrummel.com

"Even now, all possible feelings do not yet exist, there are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written or a painting no one has ever painted, or something else impossible to predict, fathom or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges and absorbs the impact." ~ Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

Shell Rummel
Saturday Art Review by C. J. Shane

Some artists present us with images that can bring forth different stories in our minds. These images tell a tale that instruct or inform us. It’s impossible to miss the story in Picasso’s Guernica, for example. Or perhaps an image carries within it a spontaneous story laden with diverse ideas or emotions – ideas and emotions that are very often related to what we are thinking or feeling in our personal lives.

Other artists have the capacity to go beyond concept or emotions in storytelling, and instead they present images that can be seen, interpreted, or read in many different ways not bounded by one story line.  In these works, the essential nature or structure of the image can be read in different ways. It’s up to you and me to say what we are seeing. The image can be seen as micro or macro level, as a landscape in one minute, or a figure in the next; as abstracts now, or an  impressionistic rendering in a future viewing. These multiple understandings of a single image are especially intriguing to me

Shell Rummel is one of those artists who can provide us with those compelling images. In fact she says herself, “The fluid grace of nature and its infinite interpretations is my inspiration.” The word “fluid” catches my attention here because it seems to encapsulate the character of her work. The very ability of her images to be read in different ways manifests this idea of fluidity.

Take this watercolor painting, The Heart Surges which is accompanied by a passage from the book The History of Love.  From the title of this work and the book passage, an immediate interpretation comes to us. We imagine a “new feeling” entering the world, and we get to speculate on what the new feeling might be based on the image we see.

But there are other ways to read this. Are we looking at the interior space of a creature that carries within itself a heart and blood vessels and surging flood flows?  That micro-level interpretation of the inner life of cells or structure of tissue appears often in Shell’s work. Or stepping back a bit, do we see a reposing figure with pulsating vessels just beneath the skin’s surface? Or perhaps this is something entirely different. Perhaps it’s a sea creature with tentacles floating on undulating waves. Step back again.  Could the image be an island floating in the great ocean? We see rocky cliffs and sandy shores, tree lines and open grass prairies, trails and roads and little villages?  Or perhaps this is the great Ocean itself with that pulsating, surging life-giving substance that gives planet Earth its true name, the Water Planet.

One can always be sure that Shell’s images will be organic, made of earth and sea and sky, of tissues and cells and atoms that make up the things of life. Her color palette is distinctive and perfectly supports her artistic message. Although I know much of her time is taken with her design business based in Virginia, I am always very pleased to see her artwork appear in her G+ stream. It has become something of an entertaining puzzle for me to see how many layers of reality I can see in her paintings.

To The Sea

Two days at the ocean to fill my soul well back up. A spontaneous trip that was needed, despite the hellish drive (15+hours total).  And even if the weather was less than glorious, it simply didn't matter...Awake at dawn to absorb the filtered light and it was so lovely, making all the colors softer, gentler somehow. I wished I had my paints with me at that moment to capture the subtle grays and greens. Really enjoyed the pier... from above,  the water shone emerald. Standing underneath, it was haunting the way the tide slowly rolled in then crashed around pillar only to smooth out once again leaving a trace of foamy lace.  Mid day,  the largest sand dunes on the East coast called my name ... a climb to the top, sandwiched between views of sea and sound. Loved the wind up there... And it carried all the way back to the shoreline, whipping waves wild and frothy, inspiring paintings yet to come...