Artist Statement: Rosemary Bailey

Rosemary Bailey, Pastel #2


Artist Statement

When I begin a project, I might attempt to tackle it with my natural tendencies of planning and strategy. However, my best work has never come from any kind of blueprint, and I am always surprised by the final image. Painting and drawing feels a lot less an act of creation than one of discovery and conversation. It draws out an instinctual process from within me which I am still learning to trust. 

What becomes seminal for me are experiences that leave an intense, provocative, and arresting impression. Some things recently have been those early witchy mornings where the moon is full and the wind is strong and cool and the crickets are silent and it feels like there is mischief afoot. The elation of song that takes me to the depths of my spirit and back up to hope. Childhood memories of fairytales and places I hoped were real. The way sunlight and shadow play on someone’s face. But not everything comes from this space. Sometimes it’s just a challenge with specific restraints I put on myself and somewhere in the middle I catch the whole point of it. The perfectly expressive line, color, or shadow, and I’ve got it. In this season of my life, I haven’t been able to continue past the very thing that makes it work, which is why so many portraits are unfinished. I like the unfinished pieces, though. They feel like a memory or a dream. Maybe someday I’ll be able to express over the whole page. 

I don’t always know where the piece is going and sometimes I don’t know what I have until it sits a while. This means I am usually working on several pieces at once, hopping from different subjects and mediums, and they’re all influencing me and one another at the same time. It can be a very messy process. I can make the same image many times over in different ways before I find it, or I hit it the first time without thinking. It can be a powerfully moving experience and it can also just be work. I’m still learning how to express the moments I experience and the things that I see, but I hope that I am making art that is engaging, that makes you curious and want to take time to explore it. 

Rosemary Bailey

Scroll to Top