In 2005, after moving to a different city and experiencing a death in the family, I began working in a more introspective way. Like the post-impressionists, fauvists, abstracters and expressionists before me, I became more interested in expressing than in rendering a likeness. I began a search for inner truth. I started to create my own visual language. In essence, I began a quest of self.
It might seem ironic to some, but when I was painting in a realistic manner, I was denying in many ways, my upbringing in a very traditional “bible belt” home in Wichita, Ks. I was desperately trying to publicly remove myself from, what I thought at the time, a backwards and literalist fundamentalist community. In the process, however, I also denied myself a past.
Today, I do not consider myself a fundamentalist, but I explore the stories and teachings of my youth with new wonder and hope. I believe at the essence of every spiritual path there are truths. In my new works, I express my appreciation for all things good in humanity as well as my desire for a more harmonic existence with each other and our natural environment.
The work below is entitled, “Birthday.”
In this mixed media collage work, (47 1/2″ x 35 1/2″) I wanted to combine my appreciation for motherhood, and the holy birth.
I have been painting and using collage lately on cradled boards that I have made myself. Since I was in control of what sizes I made, I decided to create a rather large 6′ x 4′ sized board. I’ve been picking at it since August in between other work. While it still isn’t complete, I have learned already that scale matters when it comes to my work flow. I can still be spontaneous, I just have to mix more paint, step back from the painting more, and really avoid getting stuck in one place for too long.
It has been fun seeing where this work is going. When I get stuck, I just start applying paint, or cut out a shape and stick it on the board. I then can start to respond to these small but important small acts of faith. The important thing is to just keep at it and trust you will know what to do when the time comes.
Here are some pictures from the process so far of the creation of my surface to the still unfinished stage it’s in now.
Thanks so much for coming by!-Shawn Pagels
I have gone through several style changes and experimental periods in my life as an artist. Some of the changes and impulses to experiment came from the need to explore, and those shifts in attitude have brought pure joy..for the most part. There are those darker moments of change that I later realized were an avoidance strategy. Making art that I thought would get the most praise or financial gain would ultimately leave me depressed and full of self doubt.
To me, working in a way that mirrors those early fearless childhood attempts at making art, is the most productive and satisfying. Honesty in my work has always paid off. In my latest works, I have conjured, the best I can, the sparkle and magic of early life wonderment and imagination about nature. Giving myself license to play and be amazed at the miraculous gift of life.
Grazing, 20″ x 16″ acrylic and collage on canvas