Glasswork Captures Calligraphy of Nature

Glasswork and paintings capture nature’s lush foliage and gradation of rich colors.

This week, the Seattle Vine interviews visual artist Angelita Surmon and finds out about her work with kiln-formed glass and her upcoming show in Seattle at the Fountainhead Gallery.

Angelita Surmon, 'Oak Grove', 2012, kiln-formed glass, 7 x 9 x 1/4". Image courtesy of the artist.

Angelita Surmon, ‘Oak Grove’, 2012, kiln-formed glass, 7 x 9 x 1/4″. Image courtesy of the artist.

“When I wander through the local terrain, I am drawn to the land between the meadow and the forest, and the reflected thickets of trees and grasses in nearby estuaries. On the edge of the woodland is the understory of tangled shrubs, small trees, vines and plants that invite me in to observe their wild calligraphy. I explore nature’s versions of Jackson Pollock and Mark Tobey,” reads Surmon’s artist statement.

Surmon’s statement continues, “During these times of observation, I am in the moment, and the noise and speed of everyday life is somewhere else. I find a respite from the normal chaos and can be just there, exploring the variations of color and line, texture and movement. I can hear the birds, frogs and rain, and take in the verdant scent of the forest. When I make art, I am also in the moment, and my focus is to bring my sense memories of the woods into the imagery so that I can find that respite again.”

Angelita Surmon, 'Approaching Dusk', acrylic on canvas, 30 x 36". Image courtesy of the artist.

Angelita Surmon, ‘Approaching Dusk’, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 36″. Image courtesy of the artist.

For the exhibition at the Fountainhead Gallery, both Surmon’s paintings and glasswork will be present.“My first love is painting, and particularly acrylics because they are water soluble, fast drying and easy to clean up. I like to work quickly, and although I love the look of oils, I don’t want to sit and watch it dry,” Surmon told us.

Angelita Surmon, 'Oak Island Reflections', 2012, kiln-formed glass, 8 x 10 x 1/4". Image courtesy of the artist.

Angelita Surmon, ‘Oak Island Reflections’, 2012, kiln-formed glass, 8 x 10 x 1/4″. Image courtesy of the artist.

“Although her painting has always been infused with light, we find that clients are especially drawn to her kiln-formed glass,” said Sue Peterson, co-owner of the Fountainhead Gallery.  Recently, Surmon began experimenting with a process called “Painting with Light”, which was developed by Narcissus Quagliata, using frits (ground glass), powdered glass and vitrograph (heated and stretched glass wires) to create images on sheets of Bullseye Glass.

Angelita Surmon, 'Quiet Light', 2013, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48". Image courtesy of the artist.

Angelita Surmon, ‘Quiet Light’, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48″. Image courtesy of the artist.

“I started working in glass about 3 1/2 years ago. As my paintings became more involved with light, it seemed like a natural progression with my work. I took a workshop on painting with glass, and was thoroughly hooked. I love the way it transmits light and color. It has the ability to be painterly, while still retaining the properties of glass. The possibilities are quite wonderful. I have had to learn to slow down, and to develop the image over time. It is a costly but beautiful medium.”

Angelita Surmon, 'Forest Impression', 2013, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 36". Image courtesy of the artist.

Angelita Surmon, ‘Forest Impression’, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 36″. Image courtesy of the artist.

Upcoming exhibitions include a two-person show with Susie Wind at the Fountainhead Gallery (July 11 to August 4, 2013), the American Craft Council Show (August 2-4, 2013) in San Francisco, a two-person show with Renee Maford at The Gallery at the Watershed in Eugene and the annual juried Portland Open Studio’s tour in October.