During last week's Sanibel Captiva Art League's general meeting, island artist Bea Pappas gave a short talk on experimental art while offering demonstration of some of her methods in water media.
Held at the Sanibel Community House, Pappas explained how she allows her images to appear "on their own," showing league members what materials she typically uses and offering a few cost-saving tips.
"I want you to see what it does what you possibly couldn't do with a paintbrush," said Pappas, beginning her program by laying out a large piece of 140-weight watercolor stock on the table in front of her, layering randomly selected pieces of sheer fabric, filter paper, cheesecloth, wire mesh and a set of faux pearls on top of her blank canvas.
"I re-use everything," she told the crowd of about 30 fellow artists. "Sometimes I'll have to run it through the washing machine... maybe twice."
Pappas, well known on the islands for her interesting experimental techniques in water and other media, recently explored a lightheartedly grotesque theme in the well-received Cigar Box Invitational Sculpture Show, staged at the Founders Gallery at BIG Arts. She was also a prize winner at the popular "Recycle It" show there last year.
"I really have nothing in mind when I start," she added. "I just kind of lay things out randomly."
Pappas explained that she creates her pieces of art like one would a watercolor — beginning with the lighter colors at first before building towards brighter, bolder and darker hues.
"Each color of paint has it's own weight," Pappas explained. "When you mix them together and pour them through your layers, they kind of separate."
A New England native, Pappas attended the DeCordova Museum School in Massachusetts and has studied with such noted artists as Betty Lou Schlemm. She is award-winning signature member of the International Society of Experimental artists.
In addition, Pappas was a founding member of the popular Hirdie Girdie Gallery. She is currently the new co-chair of the Visual Arts Committee at BIG Arts.
Asked how long it typically takes her to complete a painting, and Pappas sort of laughed.
"Sometimes, it'll take me years to finish," she said. "I love it when the characters come out — like when the turtle or the girl just appears to me. But I do have a lot of freaky characters in my works, too."
As she neared the close of her demonstration, Pappas began to peel away at some of the layers of her freshly-created artwork. When one small portion of the canvas appeared stark white, she explained that sometimes the process will take longer to permeate and seep through to the canvas.
"I'm not much of a 'preparing ahead' gal," Pappas added. "I look at things forever. This is the fun part — but then I have to get down to it."
For more information about the Sanibel Captiva Art League, call 395-2122.
During last Thursday's Sanibel Captiva Art League meeting, experimental artist Bea Pappas offered a demonstration on techniques in water and other media.