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El Dorado County Artist Isabella Ryder

07/25/2017 02:19PM ● Published by Style

Gallery: Isabella Ryder Art [4 Images] Click any image to expand.

Multi-dimensional artist Isabella Ryder’s current collection includes works of vibrant silk gessoed onto painted canvas that she’s layered and folded into sensuous shapes. Flexibility is key to her, as sometimes a single painting is enough, while other times her work calls for a multi-piece series to best capture the creative process. “The challenges of being a professional artist are varied, but the most important tool is to [carve time out] to create and communicate about my work, and do all the activities that inspire and keep me healthy,” she shares. “Being an artist is a blessing in the chaos of contemporary life.” View Ryder’s work at local libraries, El Dorado Arts Council’s "Art in Public Places” program, and at the Gold Country Artists’ Gallery.

HLB: What prompted you to start using silk?

IR: I love fiber, especially the multisensory nature of silk. It looks soft, light and feminine, feels smooth and luxurious, sounds quiet and gentle, is easy to manipulate when using gesso, and delightful to paint [on] with oils—like soft butter spread on a fresh-baked scone. I’d been working with 100-percent cotton duck canvas and feeling constrained by [its heaviness]; my “aha” moment came when I decided to use silk instead [and began] creating hidden images, illusions of movement, and three dimensions. 

HLB: What were you like as a young artist? 

IR: I grew up in a farm/ranch culture in Wyoming and Iowa, and would visualize landscapes as a young girl [while] riding horses in cornfields and on snowy roads. I began taking art classes in my early 20s and have been involved in creating artwork for over 45 years. Since the ’70s, I’ve focused on impressions of the natural world. Since the rise of terrorism, I’ve started including more expressionist work—not only depicting my response, but also enabling the viewer to find solace in the calm nature of my silk on cotton canvas work. 

HLB: What’s your current fascination?

IR: I’m finishing a two-year project (five weeks over two years) of visiting areas in Northern England where my mom’s ancestors lived, and areas in Scotland where my dad’s ancestors lived and worked. I’ve come away from the experience with a deeper understanding of my desire to produce artwork based on natural environments, my love of intense colors, and a work ethic that’s vital to a studio artist.

HLB: What makes a piece successful to you?  

IR: Success with my artwork is when I intuitively feel it makes an authentic statement about the subject matter. I also feel a deep connection with folks who are touched by my work or share their own stories of what it says to them and how it makes them feel. I don’t define success by the sale.

HLB: If not an artist, what would you be?

IR: An explorer in another country, time and place; or a world diplomat doing what I can to stop the never-ending spiral of violence that's present in today's world.

By Heather L. Becker // Art photos courtesy of artist. Artist photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

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