The love of light
Vail, CO Colorado
Many artists dance between light and shadows, but few shine quite like Britten. The local artist’s new series of paintings and sculptures, titled “Illuminating 2012,” focuses on her love of light. The artist’s bold, colorful palettes beam brightly from the canvas, as though each one is secretly hiding a light bulb behind it. This is not true, of course, but Britten’s technique certainly makes it seem that way.
“Illuminating 2012” also showcases Britten’s use of color to represent one’s feelings and past experiences.
“Each person has their own reservoir of memories,” Britten said. “There is an emotion that is linked to that memory, and color often triggers that memory, bringing forth an emotion.”
Britten’s painting process is multilayered. She starts with acrylic paint and then adds gold, silver and copper leaf, finishing with oil paint and resin. She crafts her sculptures from sheets of pure copper. Britten’s three-step method helps her create the “illuminating” effect she is known for.
“The light is actually in the painting, and what I do is just accent it,” Britten said. “The first layer creates the underlying texture and play of light. The next layer is the gold, silver and copper leaf, which creates the reflective light. The third layer is another form of light, the contrast of colors. Each layer brings its own light and creates depth in the painting.”
Britten is interested in stripping away traditional painting styles and getting down to art’s most basic elements.
“I’ve simplified and tried to find the most important aspect of the painting… what draws us to a painting or a piece of art that we find attractive?” Britten said. “The simplest elements of composition and color, coupled with the memory that we can relate to, is a universal language that is spoken through art.”
Each piece comes to Britten organically and often “reveals itself to me along the way,” she said. By using color, light and texture to invoke memory, Britten’s work speaks to each viewer differently. Some look at a painting and see joy, while others interpret it as sadness.
“To me, viewing art is a very personal experience,” Britten said. “Each person is going to have a different reaction… I’ve seen people cry, I’ve seen people laugh, I’ve seen people run away and I’ve seen people run towards it.”
After finishing a piece, Britten steps back to fully examine it before deciding on a title. She then writes a few sentences about what the painting means to her, which is posted along with the canvas in the gallery. Britten encourages others to look at the painting first and decide what it expresses for them before reading her own description.
“I love that people use their own creativity, it triggers their ability to find something in one of my pieces,” Britten said.
Britten sparks a memory through her paintings and sculptures, making what first appears to be abstract, tangible and personal. By creating canvases that radiate, she intends to enlighten the soul.