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MOLLy O’ROURKE ~ aRtist’s statement

A bright yellow day lily, showered in light should be a happy sight, and it is. At the same time, it bothers me, and makes me want to know if it also bothers you, whether you see the crazy beauty of it too. So I draw it, or paint it, to try and understand it a little, to see it better, and hold that up to share with you. I’m curious to know, how and what you see, when you look at things.

With this flower, I love the structure of the way it’s put together, the amazing invention of it, how strong light makes it glow, and how that makes the air around it sing. How does that wild yellow-green flip into orange along the bud? It confuses, confounds, and delights me.

As you may have guessed, this affliction doesn’t happen just with day lilies. After all, I live on the coast of Maine. The light here could embarrass a chameleon, which like the weather, changes on a dime.

I love that. Sea-smoke devouring an island, to diamonds bouncing off mirror-clear water — smoke and mirrors.

Each medium I try seems to emphasize something different, teaching me to see in another way. As the pigments run and puddle, watercolor is a natural for those flickering light changes, and every bit as elusive. There is probably no clearer, more direct way of experiencing color than pastel. It’s as if a solid piece of sky or tree landed in your hand, to press onto the paper. Pencil and line make up the hub of my wheel: gesture, shape, value, thinking out the architecture of a subject — all the underpinnings of nature and composition.

Every time I pick up a stick of pastel, or even a pencil eraser, it occurs to me how lucky I am, being able to explore expression this way. Working outside while being “inside the painting” as it were, or drawing from a live model, is an extravagant gift. I hope some of this appreciation and sense of discovery comes through in the work.