New Mexico award winning artist, Linda Wooten-Green is a painter of Landscapes, Portraits, etc., with a contemporary abstracted point of view. Her work is in public and private collections throughout the United States.
She received an MS in Art Education from Wayne State University in Wayne, Nebraska. She has done graduate work in Studio Art, Art History, and Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Minnesota, Duluth, University of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Hartwick College, New York. She received a BFA from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
She was an Art Teacher, Chairperson of the Fine & Performing Arts at West Point Public Schools in West Point, Nebraska for 17 years, and has been exhibiting her work in solo and group exhibits throughout the country for 36 years. Bio provided by the artist
Q. You have two quotes on your website about landscape and the earth. Talk about how and why you are influenced/inspired by natural settings.
A. The primary purpose of my landscape work is to give homage to the places and spaces in which we dwell. As much as I like people, and the excitement of city life, there is a very real desire in me for solitude and the need to feel a kind of kinship with the natural landscape. Using paint, I delight in exploring movement, shape, pattern, form, and color in nature amid seasonal changes.
For example, a twisted, somewhat deformed cottonwood tree (featured image) becomes a metaphor for the struggle to live, survive and offer shade and shelter to a myriad of living species. My layers of painted, scrubbed, and glazed surfaces express my own explorations in rendering what this painted living object might evoke emotionally, spiritually, and aesthetically. My personal search for meaning uses the creative processes inherent in making paintings that allow me to explore who I am, what I mean, and what I feel.
We are the landscape of all we have seen. (Isamu Noguche)
If I pollute the earth, the land, the water, etc., either personally or through corporate collusion, I ultimately destroy healthy life on this planet for myself and future generations.
Q. When did you decide to become and artist, or is it a calling?
A. I wanted to be an artist from the time I was old enough to hold a pencil or a crayon. I’ve always liked to draw. I looked forward to Friday afternoon “art” class in the 1st Grade. Poetry and literature were areas of study I’ve treasured as well. Words portray imagery through the mind’s eye.
I can truly claim that I have done “art” at some level throughout my life. For nearly 20 years, I taught art (history and processes) at the junior and senior high levels, as well as at adult level workshops. If one chooses to respond to an inner need in a visual manner, then I believe that one is “called” to do so.
Q. I noticed you have poetry paired with some of your paintings. Talk about why and how words and art express emotions in different but complimentary ways.
A. Most days, I spend time in my studio working on paintings or projects. Recent autumn trips to Bosque del Apache in Southern New Mexico became an inspiration for new paintings, as well as the enjoyment and appreciation of unusual yucca plant forms in a friend’s garden. The discovery of a fishing lake near Albuquerque led to the appreciation of exquisite water lilies that danced across the water like spiraling ballerinas on reflective surfaces. I use tools at my disposal: oil pastels, charcoal, and cameras to record via plein aire, and through photograph images used to inspire creative work. I continually read about both historical and contemporary art and artists.
An example: Looking southwest from my studio window, I contemplate the olive tree bordering the acequia and the empty field beyond.
The ancient Olive tree stands sentry
a minutes march from my studio window.
Its gray green branches reflect myriad glints
of bronze and silver,
as light changes course across the arc of the day.
Whitened limbs bend and bow,
breezes play with flickering leaves.
The tree’s sturdy rootedness and easy flexibility
amid wind shifts and weather changes
leave daily grace notes —
reminders of my aging body
within nature’s landscapes.
The tree’s shapes and patterns and range of motion
offer an edge of awed silence
and wonder at movement and form —
A sense of sacred presence.
A Dwelling Place.
The tree becomes a metaphor for my own aging body and in turn a deeper appreciation for the gift of life, at any age. The painting of the same tree is an abstracted way, though inspired by the olive tree, gives way to a kind of metaphoric sunset experience. The tree inspires word with an emotional twinge with references to age, flexibility, and weather changes, as well as being a metaphor for my own feelings.
The painting of the tree suggests, hopefully, the sunset time of life, silver flickering leaves in changing life situations with light and color.
Q. What artists do you most identify with and why?
A. I admire and appreciate the work of so many artists, both historically and in contemporary life, that I hesitate to name them. The “breakthrough” work of Paul Cezanne and his recognition and response to patterned forms in his Mont Sainte-Victoire paintings; the impressionistic landscape work of Claude Monet; the early 20th Century work of Georgia O’Keefe and Charles Burchfield; the abstracted landscapes of Richard Diebenkorn, and the landscapes of Fairfield Porter.
Q. What’s your strongest memory of your childhood that shaped you as an artist?
A. I treasure the gentle support of both my parents. My mother loved to see me sitting at the dining room table working on drawings. I also recall a large print above the living room sofa of a pastoral rural scene featuring grazing cows in a serene setting. I could look at the scene and create an imaginary narrative about it.
Q. What do you most want people to know about you as an artist?
A. I want people to appreciate the beauty, health, and fragile sustainability of the earth as a living organism. If one truly loves the land, and that which grows and depends on the land for survival, then anything that poisons the land, renders and threatens animal life toward extinction, should not be tolerated.
Q. If you could go anywhere and paint anything, what would you choose, and why?
A. If I could go anywhere and paint anything? What a difficult question! At present, I would hope to visit and spend time working in Costa Rica, and perhaps Ecuador, for the sheer multitude of temperate zones and array of wildlife dependent on the zones available in those countries.
Q. You will have a show at the Plaza April 1-May 31. How do you select pieces from your body of work when you mount an exhibit?
A. The Plaza show at present is in the vestibule bordering the ballroom: April 1-May 31. The work in this exhibit represents scenes of abstracted landscapes of the Southwest. The pieces are generally done as part of a series in a similar style and motif.
Q. What are you most proud of as an artist, and why?
A. In 2001-2002, I painted a series of rural images in the Midwest area (Iowa/Nebraska) that represented areas of the landscape suffering from the Farm Crisis. My husband Ron (a writer) had been working on a well-researched manuscript dealing with chemical contamination of water and soil, connecting this practice with the eventual sickness and death of young women diagnosed with cancer.
My work for this project consisted of about a dozen rural scenes. The images were interspersed with my husband’s narratives from his manuscript on the subject. The exhibit was featured at several galleries and health center in the Midwest. It was also featured through the Nebraska Arts Council at the Governor’s Mansion in Lincoln, Nebraska for a month.
The exhibit at the Plaza Hotel is an open venue available for viewing throughout the day. For more information about the artist and her work go to www.lindawootengreen.com
The exhibits at the Plaza are part of the Las Vegas Arts Council and Plaza Hotel ongoing partnership to support and promote the arts and artists of Las Vegas and the area.