Arts & Culture

Artist Arlene Linder revels in contrast between California landscape and Lowcountry's greens

California sure is different from the Lowcountry.

San Francisco native Arlene Linder moved from the West Coast to Sun City Hilton Head about a year ago and was struck by the people and places around her. Her take is reflected in "Expressive Paintings: New Views of the Lowcountry"

Linder, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has had her work shown in museums across California and a couple of her sketches were published in the book Art.Rage.Us, which included art about women battling breast cancer.

Linder explains how the Lowcountry has inspired her.

Question. What have you been painting lately?

Answer. I try to get the feel of the people and the scenery around here. The scenery is so different from what I'm used to. Everything around here is so green. That's a little different from California where we don't have the moisture.

Q. A lot of your work has very vibrant color. How did that come about?

A. I love John Nieto's work. He's an American Indian artist. I went to a gallery because I kept thinking about how he gets his color to come out like it does. What I found out is that he paints his canvas red first. That's how the colors pop out. So that's what I did. I paint my canvas in red. It's my little secret, too.

Q. How do you get your ideas?

A. I paint two different ways. Sometimes I see a picture in my head like a Polaroid photo, and I just paint what I see. The other way I do sketches of people. My daughter was going through breast cancer a while back. My salvation was to sketch. I sketched her for a year. A couple of the pieces were selected for this exhibit about women with breast cancer that went around the United States (Art.Rage.Us, published 1998).

Q. Do you feel like you're always experimenting with different styles?

A. What I do is whatever hits me. One of the things I learned in school is don't be afraid to experiment. People are afraid things won't look perfect. When I was in school I had worked on this one piece for a month and a half. It was precious to me. I brought it in so proud. My teacher looked at me and said, "I want you to take a felt pen or charcoal or whatever you find and scribble all over it." I thought she was out of her mind. I just said to hell with it and did it. That piece got into the Crocker Art Museum (in Sacramento). The lesson: Don't make anything too precious.


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