Post Date: July 30, 2014
Categories: Off Center Art Gallery
On a lovely Saturday morning in June, I arrived at Sparrow’s Café to chat with Angeline Meitzler, a local artist and Grand Valley State University student who has had great success showing and selling her work at The Green Well’s Off-Center Gallery. We sat down near the front window and I started to ask about her work, her process, and her inspirations as she sipped on her chai.
Since 2010, Angeline has spent most of her artistic emphasis on painting. If you come into The Green Well right now, you’ll see four of her large-scale oil paintings featuring groups of people floating in the absence of a setting. She uses a cool color palette of primarily blues, greys and pale greens. She tells me that her eye is naturally and unconsciously drawn to this particular palette because of its calming character. Many of her paintings are inspired by waterfronts and she says that her world would be a better place if she could live by water.
“These paintings (at the Off Center Gallery) are part of a series based on the feelings I experience when reading Buddhist texts,” she reflects. “The images represented in my paintings, those of faceless, lonely souls in vast areas, are intended to convey feelings of emptiness and nothingness.”
She tells me that the lack of facial features on the figures began as an accident, but ended up enhancing the visual experience because people don’t spend time focusing on the figures’ identities. “The Buddhist texts talk about these feelings in a warm way, and I really wanted to make my reaction to the text visual.”
So it doesn’t surprise me when I ask Angeline how she gets over creative blocks, she’s quick to reply, “I read.” Much of the inspiration in her work comes from reading philosophical books because it jogs her thoughts in a different direction. Once she conquers a block, she lays her thoughts down onto the canvas in her ideal spot: a room with loud music and her canvas on the floor, either early in the morning or very late at night.
During school semesters, she inhabits a studio space on campus, but paints from the comfort of her home during the summer. “I usually have an idea in mind when I begin,” she explains, “but often that idea transforms based on what is happening on the canvas. But it’s never a failed attempt, and usually becomes better than imagined.”
Angeline has always wanted to be an artist, whether making comics with the kids in her neighborhood, or falling in love with painting in high school where she learned the beauty behind the movement in the brush. Her advice to other artists: Paint every day, even if it’s just putting down a wash on your canvas. “For me it takes many layers for me to feel achievement within a piece.”
“If I could have a special power, I would choose the ability to naturally speak any language so that I could communicate with anybody.” She plans to travel in the future, especially to explore coastal cities like Seattle, but for now, she will continue to grow as an artist right here in Grand Rapids.
Angeline Meitzler has work available for sale at the Off Center Gallery at The Green Well, 924 Cherry St. SE in Grand Rapids, MI.