L Linda Roberts: Diverse Florida-based artist, who excels in many mediums
Few artists can excel at many mediums. They may do well at one or two; but to excel at four five, well that is close to be a phenom. Linda Roberts is one of those rare artists. Her journey to such an eclectic and diverse work of art is fascinating and fun. Meet Linda, this week’s interview.
I get my inspiration from the world we live in. Everywhere we look we see color, shape, form and gesture. It stimulates me to translate these forms into sculptures, paintings and monotype prints. Whatever stirs the imagination is an impetus to creating art. I draw on imagery from personal experiences, flights of fantasy and cultural symbols across the ages. For example, the use of color and icons in my monotype prints depict a narrative story, comprising my travels over several continents. Whereas, my paintings began in realism, doing nudes and dance forms, but have evolved into abstractions.
I have enjoyed several different mediums over many years, such as painting, mixed media, mono-type prints, clay sculptures and papier-mâché. I truly love the process of all mediums, for it is an easy way to lose oneself in the process and it can be very fulfilling.
Recently, I have found a strong affinity in working with clay, after a brief sabbatical. I was inspired by Pat Underwood pieces at the Brick Street Clay Studio and her use of underglazes to return to doing busts in a more whimsical style. I love the feel of clay and how it can be manipulated into three-dimensional forms.
I was originally inspired at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA, to explore clay sculpture in my early 20’s. The very first time I did a figurative piece, it was love for the process.
Over the years, I did many pieces in clay based on the human body.
Later, I became interested in papier-mâché, inspired by Nikke de Saint Phalle. My pieces became more abstract, using colors and design. Later, I became interested in using mannequins as mixed media 3D pieces, where monotype prints, painted tissue paper, beads, jewelry, coins and toys adorned the pieces.
As a child, I loved art; but I had no formal training. My grandmother was an artist, so I was inspired by her as a young child, and would spend hours drawing and painting at her home. Later in my early 20’s, I had a love affair with clay and became more interested in painting. I lived in a small studio apartment in Washington D. C., on the 10th floor, and the light would flood into my apartment and it inspired me to get out my easel and paint. As the years passed, I worked as a teacher by day, and would come home and sculpt or paint after work. In my early 40’s, I decided to study art at New York University and spent four summers studying in Venice, Italy, and received a degree in art. I have continued to study with many wonderful teachers, such as Rose Marie Prins.
I choose what to sculpt based on what I am feeling at the time: joy, sadness, desire, despair, hope and love.
Also, I love to get on Pinterest and see what other artists are creating. I never tire of looking at books and visiting museums, where I can see a Rodin, Henry Moore, Picasso, Degas, Giacometti, Kiki Smith and the list goes on.
I would choose my series of elongated figure clay sculptures, which I entitled the “Nymph Series;” with a painting I did based on these sculptures. This was an exciting time for me, for these pieces were shown in New York and many of my friends came to celebrate with me.
I would choose an abstract painting I did in the Venice art program, abroad. I spent a summer working outside in the heat and rain, where I struggled with this painting to make it work; but ultimately, I felt like it was a failure. I brought it back to my home in Tampa, FL and several months later revisited the painting with a fresh perspective. Later, I submitted it for a show in New York, where it was accepted. I like this piece for it represents how through perseverance a failure can become a success.
After teaching for over 40 years, I am enjoying the time in retirement to return to my artwork. I fill my days with classes, workshops, going to museums and galleries, exercise, friends, my two dogs Monet and JJ (named for Jasper Johns) and family.
I never buy art to match anything. I only buy art that speaks to me in some way or moves me. I like art that is creative and unique.
As for décor, I prefer to surround myself with furniture made by artists and not mass produced, where I enjoy the lines, form and material utilized by the artist.
The theme is “Collage Carnivale” for the show on April 30 at Davidson Fine Art; which is from 6 to 9 pm. It is like being at a carnival with an explosion of color, festivities and fun!
There is magic in the air with beautifully executed collage mixed-media paintings, by Dee Perconti, hanging on the walls. It is global with a mannequin collaged with torn monotype prints I did, based on the time I studied in Venice and trips to Paris, adding maps and toys denoting travel. Four collaged mannequins using mixed media are integrated throughout creating a gala occasion.