10, October 2014: I’m watching Caryl Westergren’s painting of a giraffe as its watching me, and I think we are both wondering what we both are thinking. Therein seems to lie part of the feeling and wonder of Westergren’s paintings. Each seems to bring the beholder into and under the paint, where real relationship with the subject is promised.
The “About” page on her website, http://caryljean.com., says she focused her college work on sculpture. That is clear in her paintings, as her art projects inviting dimensions. Her perspectives seem to invite the viewer to tour the emotional and spiritual sides of her canvas worlds. The page tells us that Caryl Jean “brings a new and original blending of statement in her art with expressionist and impressionist art, harvesting inspiration, from nature and lost worlds.” But I think the world’s aren’t necessarily lost, just placed a step away so we may get a running start at entering them. They are each welcoming adventures.
I can feel the heat of the fire with the cowboys around the fire, in “the Sweet Life.” I feel like they want me to listen to the tales of their day.
I’m not just observing, but I’m a member of the “Chimpanzee Family.” What are they chattering about? It looks like a parental matter, but maybe they will tell me.
And I’m being tempted and lured in by the woman in the center of “The Gypsy Camp” while her sisters are sizing me up. She doesn’t seem to care about who I am, but maybe what’s in my heart and pockets, eh?
Westergren has a heavy oil style that adds to the fantasy of each painting, and I think she must use a lot of paint in each of her works. The heaviness seems to create a curtain for me to step through upon entering her dreams.
Where would I put a Westergren painting, if I were allowed to bring one home? I think I would put one in my meditation room, so I could sit and stare and imagine, and search for the hidden door into its world. After I returned I think I would write about what I found in the giraffe’s mind, and what the chimps were saying to each other, but I would be careful about sharing what the gifts the sisters shared with me in the Gypsy camp. I could write an entire series of cowboy stories too. Ha!
Westergren has been has been a professor at Indian River State College in Florida. Her site says she was an “adjunct” professor there. Adjunct means “something joined or added to another thing but not essentially a part of it” and I think her art could be defined this in way to. Until you step into Westergren’s work, with your imagination hungry for the adventure, you might just miss the real pleasure of it.
She is has served as a committee member for the county Arts in Public Places and the Arts Council. “There are always projects in the works,” her website promises.
I hope so. I want to adventure behind the paint again soon.
By DW Grant
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