Artist Profile: Audrey Dowling

Artist Audrey Dowling of Portage Hill Gallery shares her love for nature and the outdoors. We spoke with her about inspiration and technique.

 

Eastern Woodland Melody by Audrey Dowling. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

ABI:  What is your greatest inspiration? 

AD:  My greatest artistic inspiration started with my childhood home that was located on 50 acres with three creeks running through them.  My days were spent wandering and exploring woods, fields and the creeks by myself and with my family. I dug clay from the creek to fashion simple air-dried pots. I drew with sticks into fresh mud. I used squished berries to gain color. Total artistic freedom was mine as I tried all kinds of tools to make things in my father’s barn.

 

"Line of Birches" by Audrey Dowling. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

I have continued to live in rural areas and, except for a short time spent in NYC and in the Hudson Valley where I got my art degree from SUNY New Paltz, I have rarely lived anywhere that did not have it’s own woods, barn and water features to explore. I have always been a camper, and have spent time every year being inspired by natural beauty on our family’s varied and extensive camping trips throughout the United States and Eastern Canada. The natural things I see and the emotions that I feel from these continual wanderings have come through my life’s work as an artist.

 

"A Walk in the Woods" by Audrey Dowling. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

ABI:  You are an artist who embraces different mediums. Please share your studio practice. 

AD:  Because I own my own gallery, I have total artistic freedom. I am only limited by my studio spaces, my imagination and desires and choices I make as an artist. I have established a fully stocked clay studio that I have used for over 35 years and I also have painting and printmaking studio areas in our house.

 

"Singing Spring Awake" by Audrey Dowling. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

Of course, being an outdoors person, many of my pieces are created en Plein Air. That effectively opens up the entire outdoor world as my studio. I work almost daily in one studio or the other, and sometimes I put time into multiple areas on the same day. Weather, muse, location, commissions, or ideas that I have been working out in my head determine which studio I work in on any given day.

 

"Walking in the Woods" by Audrey Dowling. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

Regardless of which medium I am using there is much idea and technique cross over in my work. I use my painting and printmaking skills in the clay studio and I use my intuitive understanding of form gained from working with clay into my 2D work. It is a fluid movement of ideas that evolve as I am working.

 

"Garden Beauty Totem" by Audrey Dowling. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

ABI:  Based on your long experience as an artist, what is your best advice for others?

AD:  My best advice would be to gain a deep understanding of art history that you supplement with art museum and gallery visits and reading artist biographies – lots of them. Do this reading to help you gain insight into the creative process that they used. Visit every art gallery in every location that you have a chance to see. Avail yourself of workshops and supplementary art experiences that expand your knowledge of the art processes.

 

"Gaia Keeping Balance" by Audrey Dowling. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

Keep your mind moving and open to trying new techniques that you can process and incorporate into your own art practices in your own unique ways. Trust your creativity to allow you to move into and evolve into new directions. If you are creating the exactly same work you have done for many years try to decide if you really want to be an art object maker or an art innovator who has something to say through your work. If you are a happy object maker, stay there, but if you want to evolve artistically and become an innovator, don’t be afraid to let go of art practices that you are comfortable with and just go for it creatively in your studio!

 

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