If you have been reading my blog for awhile, then by now you know who Margaret Matson is. She has been featured on my blog several times. Margaret is my dearest and longest friendship and we have been sharing art and inspiration for almost fifty years. Several weeks ago she mentioned ROGENE MANAS as an artist whose work she deeply appreciated. I took the liberty to email Rogene and ask if she would be interested in sharing her work on my blog. When you see her work I think you will be glad that she accepted.
I use to think I was going crazy. My mind was wild with obsessive thoughts. I did anything to avoid listening to myself. Meanwhile, as a single mother and a full time creative director, I was struggling to paint pastoral landscapes and sedate still life work in my spare time. Making art became work and for the first time in my life, I was avoiding it.
To quell my madness, I decided to make art from my feelings and thoughts. Go internal rather than external. I went from painting reality to painting what was inside my head. It was so freeing and enjoyable that it became an instant addiction. Each piece of art was a release and an expression of whatever was plaguing me. In my transformation, I changed my life from being on a treadmill to being on a path.
While spending winters in Mexico, I became enamored with Latin Folk art. Being Spanish and Italian, I have an instant kinship with drama, passion and the color palette of religious and indigenous art. With this influence, I hope my work has become more soulful and primitive. I believe that Mexico gave me permission to go there.
I have invented methods of expression using an air-dried paper mache clay, assemblage and collage materials with acrylic paint and medium. The freedom of mixed media lets me create with whatever material works best to make my statement. Artwork has become Artplay. What a blessing to have found my way into my art and out of my mind.
Since 1975 I have worked as an illustrator, graphic designer and creative director for some of the largest advertising, public relations and design firms in Oregon. For the past 30 years I have been a partner in Photo Tidings, inc., a successful international card company selling card designs as digital templates to retailers all over the world. Thanks to years of hard work and good fortune, I was able to retire from my company in 2006 to pursue my love of art making. I now am a design, business and marketing consultant to the staff at Photo Tidings.
Since I was a child, art has always been my very best friend. In my late twenties and early thirties I studied painting, drawing, and sculpture at the University of Oregon. Over the next decades, I traveled around the United States, Mexico and Europe studying paint, soft pastels, collage, colored pencil, mosaic, printmaking, collage and assemblage techniques with a variety of professional artists. I never pursued a degree at any institution, but rather added to my skills by studying with whomever inspired me, as time and funds would permit. The rest is the result of persistence, practice, experimentation, and soul searching, with a hefty dose of failed attempts.
Almost more than making art myself, I love helping others find their artistic paths. Through the years I have taught art to children in a variety of settings, including Artist in Residence programs and children’s art classes. I have given private lessons to groups in my home studio and taught adult art classes at the University of Oregon and Lane Community College in Eugene. Over the past thirteen years, I have been teaching mixed media workshops in Oregon, California, and Mexico.
ART MAKING AND INSPIRATION
My influences are rooted in my Spanish/Italian heritage. I love classical imagery and appreciate the aesthetic sensitivity and technical skills of the European masters. But I am more excited by the simplicity and honesty of primitive folk art, where relatively “untrained” artists create wondrous works using makeshift materials. Add to that my esteem and reverence for nature, along with my constant pursuit of the spiritual side of life, and you will find my “style”. I strive to incorporate the classical flavor with the primitive feel and have invented my own mixed media techniques that allow me the freedom to bring it all together.
I was once a plein air landscape painter, crafting impressionistic views of the outside world in acrylics and pastels. But after spending time in Mexico and being exposed to an endless array of Latin-American folk art, I became inspired to capture my own internal world. Now, I am excited to get into my studio everyday since I have allowed myself the freedom to pursue what feels best to create, rather than what sells best.
My processes vary from one medium to the next, but I always begin with thumbnail drawings of what I am imagining. I love being more spontaneous with painting and collage work, but when I am making clay work, I am more intentional and draw out what I plan to make with detail. Sometimes I do more realistic work and use reference material, but I prefer to make art from my imagination most of the time. I work all day in my studio Monday through Friday and also work on things at night. I like working within a theme and in a series so I can fully develop an idea. I try to live an artful life and find myself trying to create beauty and make art everyday in some way. I am blessed to find such joy in creativity.
IN NEED OF A MIRACLE THE BURDEN OF GUILT
PEACE BEGINS WITH ME THE GIFT
IT’S IN OUR HANDS FLICKER IN A PERSIMMON TREE
THREES COMPANY STARLING
OUR LADY OF STRENGTH
Oh my how we love and adore you. Your grace under fire reminds us all that when they go low, we go high. Thank you for being our beacon of strength, light, and love in these hard times. Yes we can!
OUR LADY OF AUTHENTICITY
Blessed Frida, my hero. She inspires me to be true to myself and follow my passion. No more going along when I really don’t want to.
OUR LADY OF WISHFUL THINKING
This fine lady is helping me remain optimistic in hard times. She brings me help and comfort. She may be young and naive, but that is when we are most optimistic. She helps me not be jaded.
OUR LADY OF BEING KIND TO YOURSELF
I need constant reminder to nurture myself. What that means is eating right, exercise, go to bed early to get enough sleep, keeping my spirit fed and honor myself when I am tired.
OUR LADY OF NOT TAKING IT ANYMORE.
Okay, I’m fed up. Our culture has been mistreating women for centuries. Especially women of color. But times are changing and we are not taking it anymore. So get use to getting called out from now on perpetrators!
OUR LADY OF WAITING PATIENTLY
As you can see by her face, she is definitely tired of waiting. It’s time for progress, for equal rights, equal pay, end to wars, peace on earth, reverse climate change…the list goes on. It’s time for women to take the lead and steer this ship in the right direction. Until then, we wait patiently for the wheels to turn and work towards the goal. But we don’t have to like it!
THE LADY OF FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT
Resist and persist. Yes! Wake up and join the fight. It’s time to speak up, get involved, lead by example, and be relentless in protecting our democracy, ethics and morals. We are in it to win it!
THE GOING AWAY PARTY
Experts say the African elephant could be extinct within a decade. Between 2010 and 2012 alone, 100,000 African elephants were poached; killed for their tusks. That’s a dead elephant every 15 minutes, much faster than they can reproduce. African elephants have less room to roam than ever before as expanding human populations convert land for agricultural settlements, development, community logging, plantations and mining. They not only destroy habitats but open access to remote elephant forests for poaching. Poverty, armed conflict and the displacement of people by civil conflict, also add to habitat loss and fragmentation . Support organizations that help expand protected elephant habitat.
Zebras are over hunted for their meat and their distinctive skins. Serious damage to the Zebra population is also caused by habitat loss due to human encroachment, agricultural practices and livestock grazing. Habitat degradation and fragmentation forces the animals to travel great distances to eat and drink, causing a higher rate of foal mortality. Help by donating to organizations that work to preserve and expand zebra populations.
In recent decades gorilla populations have been severely affected by habitat loss, wars, disease and poaching. Subsequently all gorilla species are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Less than 17% of gorillas live in protected areas, while the rest inhabit forests where they live under constant threat. Support organizations dedicated to preserving their habitat and saving gorillas from extinction.
Today there are fewer than 25,000 wild African lions left. In just two decades the lion population has decreased by 42%. One main cause is habitat loss due to expanding human population and the growth of agricultural settlements and roads. Lions are forced into closer quarters with humans causing them to attack livestock; farmers retaliate by killing them. They are also killed in rituals of bravery, as hunting trophies, and for their perceived medicinal and magical powers. Support organizations dedicated to saving lions from extinction.
Wolves are described as a “keystone species” whose preservation is vital to maintaining the health, structure and balance of ecosystems. Gray Wolves were once shot, trapped and poisoned to near extinction in the US. Now they are slowly being restored in northwestern states, but the current administration wants to remove them from the endangered species list as ranchers complain they are attacking livestock. Fight to keep wolves on the endangered species list.
Giraffes are suffering a “silent extinction” as they are poached for bush meat, skins, tails, and erroneous beliefs that their brains and bone marrow can cure HIV/Aids. Giraffe tails are considered to be good luck charms and exceedingly treasured by African cultures. Giraffes are frequently targeted by U.S. trophy hunters who pay thousands of dollars to shoot big game prizes. Keep the giraffe population from plummeting further by supporting the conservation of viable and existing giraffe habitats.
MY BOOK: ARTFUL PAPER CLAY
This is my book all about how I use Creative Paper Clay®. It has all my tips and tricks for creating a unique kind of art that literally jumps right off the page. There are a series of projects that progress in complexity so that you can learn as you go though the book. Plus I have included everything I know about painting and finishing the clay work. From color mixing to painting in layers to applying sealers and framing. It is definitely a great book for the inventive art maker because it is the perfect jumping off point. Plus beginners will find it easy to follow and completely doable. My process requires very few materials, so getting started is rather inexpensive. It’s a joyful process.