why art?

The best artists stop me in my tracks. Time stops. The first time I had that experience was at a Van Gogh show in New York. It's a state beyond words. It is like a mystical experience.

Since then, many artists have touched me that way. Most recently, Debbie Lyddon, Helen Terry, and Shelley Rhodes, all textile artists that I'll undoubtedly write more about someday, can lead me on a reverie as time stops. I get lost in their work.

For me, though, it's also the polished tree root in a garden that is timeless. Or an ikebana master meditatively moving to perfectly place cherry branches, or a magical play of color and movement in a garden. It's the strong gesture in a Motherwell painting, the field of color in a Wolf Kahn painting, or the rich glazes of a master potter.

I started to try to make art almost 35 years ago. I started because I wanted to have beautiful things in my apartment and I couldn't afford to buy any art I loved. I thought, "How hard can it be?" It makes me laugh all these years later thinking about the mess of color I had. It was harder than I thought! I finally took the messy paper and put it through the shower, it looked better. It's been an adventure all these years and now something I can't stop. The painting above is one I made in 1990 - 27 years ago  - and I still love it. 

Roberta Wagner