Visitors to Elise Okrend’s studio can see a new series by the artist, Water Reflections in Pastel. These three works—Soul Reflection, Winter Reflection and Water Reflection—are a result of Okrend’s recent fascination with water reflections and light.
“No matter what the season, there is a beauty in the reflections found in our surrounding rivers and lakes,” she says. “For me it represents a sense of peace, wonder and purification of the soul.”
This series is a diversion from Okrend’s normal subject matter, which typically focuses on a specific place. “This series of paintings is based on color, shape and texture,” she says. “I also tend to blend all my colors together for a very ethereal feel. In this series, I am continuing to blend, but also adding strokes of texture.”
Water Reflections in Pastel began with a walk around Lake Susan in Montreat on a beautiful, late-fall day. “I was struck by the colors of the leaves reflected in the water,” Okrend says. “It brought me a feeling of being at home and at peace. I loved the way the water muted the color intensity and shapes. It fascinated me. I thought it would make for an interesting and more abstract way of working.”
The process for each of the paintings began with laying down a color gradient from light to dark. “Then,” she says, “I used color to loosely define shapes of trees or branches. All along, I am blending the colors and actually pushing colors into one another to give the effect of the flowing water. As a final step, I’m choosing areas to highlight using the side of the pastel to apply heavier strokes and texture.”
Okrend welcomes visitors to her space in the Wedge Studios to experience these new works. “These paintings have a movement and a flow to them,” she says. “They allow you to lose yourself in them and dream.”
The Wedge Studios is located at 129 Roberts Street in Asheville. Okrend’s studio is on the first floor. For more information, visit EliseOkrend.com.