Discover Local Artists: Sonya Gaskell

Whether Sonya Gaskell, of Jupiter, paints on location or in her studio, it’s really space that she’s contemplating. And freedom.

"Carlin," Oil on Board, 10 by 11 inches (at Lazy Loggerhead Cafe) $300
“Carlin,” Oil on Board, 10 by 11 inches (at Lazy Loggerhead Cafe) $300

Come see her works in any of the three shows where she is currently on exhibit: at the Armory Art Center’s “Awe Unveiled,” the Boca Raton City Library, and the Lazy Loggerhead Café in Carlin Park, Jupiter.

Sonya Gaskell
Sonya Gaskell

As she explains it, in her works, she aims for the viewer to experience the pictorial space that she creates as well as the stroke of the paint on the canvas – at about a 50-to-50 percent, back-and-forth interchange.

In that interplay, her viewer “gets” an experience of spaciousness as an element.

To demonstrate: If you stand alone in a big auditorium, you might sum up the feeling you get in that room as open and airy. On the other hand, if you are shut up in a closet, you might feel claustrophobic. So, she asks: How come? It’s just you standing in a space, so where do the feelings come from?

"December 31st," 36 by 53 inches, Oil on Canvas (at the Armory Show) $8,000
“December 31st,” 36 by 53 inches, Oil on Canvas (at the Armory Show) $8,000

Gaskell believes it’s an internal experience, an aspect of the mind or consciousness.

Get that, and Gaskell has achieved her purpose. A little magic transpires, she said, as the viewer is “teased back and forth between the pictorial space and the mellifluous painterly blocks of paint on the surface.”

For Gaskell, painting freely is a joyful experience, however, she still maintains a commitment to her subject matter.

Take her painting of  “Old Regal Sentiment,” for example. The car from her former marriage sits on her property, the beast she tried to ignore.

"'Old Regal' Sentiment," 18 by 24 inches, Acrylic on Canvas, (in the Library Show) $600
“‘Old Regal’ Sentiment,” 18 by 24 inches, Acrylic on Canvas, (in the Library Show) $600

One day, as the sun fell on it, she was struck by its beauty and decided to paint it. In the process, she remembered the good times, the trips to the beach, and the old hippy lifestyle she at one time enjoyed. The rust, she found, had character and color. Light played off the old chrome beautifully. And she experienced the alchemy of painting, where “old resentment transmuted to ‘Old Regal Sentiment.’”

Let her magic work on you – can you move between the two experiences and come to taste space?

The Armory Art Center, located at 1700 Parker Blvd., West Palm Beach, is exhibiting two shows, “Awe Unveiled” and “Artists in Residence,” now through May 14. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The Boca Raton City Library is located at 1501 N.W. West Spanish River Drive, Boca Raton. The show continues through May 11. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The Lazy Loggerhead Café is at 401 S Highway A1A, the beach, in Carlin Park, Jupiter. Hours are 8:30 to 3 p.m. daily.

For information, call Gaskell at (561) 743-1216.

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