"But what if you did it this way ..."
If you are an artist that has ever been to a critique or publicly shown your art, you've probably heard that line.
It's an interesting comment. One that can cause us to cock our head in interest or begin smoking at the ears. It's a never-ending question. It rings endlessly from inside an artists mind as well as from out.
Imagine having that question asked from your studio mate. Imagine another set of eyes expertly helping you to see something new about your own artwork over and over again. Imagine that studio mate being inspired to tackle the same subject matter in order to explore a new angle or to bring out something you hadn't thought of.
Imagine that studio mate also being your spouse.
That is just what Rebecca and Justin Steele have been doing for the past four years. They know each other's art pretty well — after all, they're a married couple living and working in the same space. They decided to have a show where they each created a work inspired by the same subject matter.
"Living together we were drawn into each others work," Rebecca said. She saw Justin always bringing focus to a detail she missed.
She acknowledges that her art explores the overall feeling of a particular subject. Inspired by silent movie stars and industrial areas, Rebecca uses acrylic paint to create a nostalgic, soft atmosphere in which figures are almost glowing.
Justin, in contrast, has been inspired by charcoal for this series. Rebecca's claims that Justin is more detail oriented shine through, yet he adds his own sense of fleeting softness with the material he has chosen to use.
Justin said he's inspired by impressionist painting. It's an interest that began, for him, during his college years
Impressionism is an art movement that gained popularity around the latter half of the 19th century. The aim for impressionist painters was to capture light as it hits an object or place. This lent itself to paintings that seemed to move; as impermanent as a passing afternoon.
Then he met Rebecca, who inspired him to explore acrylics and develop this style further.
Justin enjoys communicating with other artists and talking through ideas and works. He even stays close with a few old co-workers who used to discuss ideas with him during breaks at work. For Justin, an artist is always developing and improving. "That's the exciting part," he said.
The couple will hold their first solo show at The North Water Street Gallery. "Double Take" will be shown Aug. 6-27. Join us for the opening reception tonight at 7:30 p.m. Live music and light refreshments will be provided.