ST. GEORGE —Fluid movement is this artist’s specialty. But the way it’s uncovered may surprise you.
“I’ve found that a lot of people that are drawn to energy and metaphysical things also connect with my work,” Artist Darcy Lee Saxton said. “And it’s probably because it comes from a meditative place.”
Because her work is intuitive, Saxton said she tries not to put rules or restraints on what she’s creating, especially in the beginning phases.
She begins each art project by pouring different colored paints onto dry canvas. After letting the paint dry, she takes a photo of the project and prints multiple copies. Sitting with the images, she begins to see what composition, shapes and imagery appear in the paint.
The next step is sketching over the prints to create concepts and themes until she finds the one that resonates the most. She then paints over the top of the painted canvas in very thin layers, exposing stories.
“It’s really slow painting, but it’s really satisfying because I just kind of check out, and what’s supposed to just comes through,” she said. “So it’s really fun. I just get to be an observer and be present for a while.”
While her work is fluid acrylic, she sometimes brushes or scratches it, using it as a way to work through a feeling or experience. Her most recent work has been a release of pain onto the canvas.
“I’m much more interested in that flow, that release, just seeing where it’s going,” she said. “It’s kind of like organizing chaos, which is what I do mostly in life, in motherhood, in everything.”
Saxton’s love for art began at a young age. She recently stumbled across a book she made when she 7. She wrote that she wanted to be a teacher and how much she loved making art. True to her youthful passions, she went on to do just that.
After attending college for art education, she began teaching high school art classes. When she realized she had more to learn, she decided to take time off to create. She moved to Portland and rented a studio space inside a large parking garage with other artists. Creating around other working artists felt like an art school in itself.
In 2007 she began dabbling in fluid art. She experimented with various mediums to create the behavior of watercolor with the versatility of acrylic.
“My floor was basically my pallet and it was just completely covered in paint,” Saxton said. “And I would just paint really big and just play.”
She began doing commission pieces, including four 10-foot by eight-foot canvases she made for a Portland salon. When the salon owner asked her to make something feminine, it unfolded quickly and flowed naturally. That feminine energy has been a key element in her art ever since.
After making the decision to move back to Washington State, she taught middle school and then elementary school art. What brings her the most amount of joy? Finding a balance between teaching art and creating her own — something she’s constantly juggling.
When she started a family, her art didn’t skip a beat. Instead, she included her kids in the creation process. By letting them start paintings with her, their spontaneous marks and energy came through in each piece.
“Bring the chaos in,” she said. “We’d pick what we’d want to turn it into, and they always wanted to turn them into animals, so we have a collection of those. It’s been fun because it channels that frenetic, playful energy, while my other work is meditative for me.”
Saxton and her family moved to Southern Utah four years ago. When she connected with the folks at MakeSpace Kayenta, it was an immedient click. She now has her own studio space inside and teaches fluid acrylic classes which allow for creative play. Having a space to create her art and teach has been a dream come true.
“It’s a great gateway into art,” Saxton said about her classes. “And it shows people how art can be fulfilling for them. To connect with being still and present. It’s energizing to have people come in and take classes and it’s great to create community.”
Saxton loves it when she gets class participants who’ve spent their lives as an accountant or any other “logical” career. Watching them discover how meditative art can be and mentally working through problems as they paint is the most rewarding part.
“It just makes me a happy, balanced person,” Saxton said about creating art. “That’s the ultimate life reward is that I get to stay happy and balanced. And being a creator makes me feel connected to God, to the Divine. I feel my best there in that creation state.”
See Saxton’s paintings at Gallery 873 in Kayenta. Prints are available for purchase at Awakened Soul. For more information on Saxton and to shop available collections, visit her website. Follow @darcyleeart on Instagram and Facebook. Shop her online Etsy shop here.
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