This story is about finding the right blue, bubbles and a mysterious coincidence.
Finding Balance in The Bubble
All through 2020 I had been painting bubbles. Blowing bubbles was a way to breath and find balance during the pandemic. I would get lost looking at light refractions.
I started painting this 'bubble being' back in October 2021. Individual bubbles formed into bubble stacks or cairns, hanging together in precarious balancing act. Cairns and stone stacking have a history of being meditative spiritual acts. That resonated with my attempt to find some peace. Cairns were also used as ancient signs, leading travelers in the right direction.
These bubble stacks became my imaginary life room models and began taking on more anthropomorphic gestures, bending over or standing tall. This one is looming high looking down, in some power pose taking a knee.
'Bubble Being', Rachel Solimeno, 24x18", Acrylic on canvas
You can read more about the bubble beings here.
Donating to Gage Gala 2022
Every year Gage Academy of Art in Seattle has a benefit Gala. It's the main fundraiser that provides the academic programs to adults and teens. This year I donated a painting to the school's 2022 Gala. I was very happy to give back since I graduated from Gage after a 3 year atelier program in contemporary painting which was very intense and enriching. Half of that time had been during some form of lockdown and so my fellow artists had become my bubble.
When I went in to drop off a landscape painting.. I noticed the theme on the flyer was of bubbles! They were also thinking about bubbles. It was a sign.. I felt that I should switch out my painting and give them 'bubble being'. I wasn't quite ready to part with this one because I wanted to show it in a series, but it felt right.
'Left: with 'Bubble Being' at the silent auction, and right: bubbles in my studio.
Immersive Experiences and AR
On the night of the Gala we walked in through a dark tunnel into the huge venue room and I felt I had just walked inside my own painting! It was very strange indeed.. in a good way!
The venue at Fremont Studios in Seattle has huge wall to wall screens, and was projecting videos of the virtual reality art exhibition. You could walk down a path and look at each painting and interact with it online and through #augmentedreality. They had built an amazing chandelier out of bubbles, and at the end of the night when the music started, everyone was showered by bubble balloons.
It was pretty cool! They had chosen to use almost the same dark vivid blue, they had built an amazing 15 ft tall chandelier made from bubbles and the walls were covered in images of bubbles.
What a crazy coincidence! It was like visiting the immersive Van Gogh Experience in a way. Art exhibitions are definitely turning higher tech these days. A friend of mine has just been involved in launching the Illuminarium, also providing immersive experiences such as the upcoming 100 flowers of Georgia O'Keefe
Blue From an Evening Sky in Naples!
During the silent auction I remember being asked a lot of questions about why I chose this particular blue as the painting background, the same blue as the Gala theme. The Gala was held in April 2022. I started painting Bubble Being in October 2021 so there was no conversation about this.
Firstly, I chose a darker blue background in order to set off the colors and the highlights in the bubbles better than a pale blue or cerulean blue sky would. Secondly we are looking up at this towering bubble being as if looking up into the evening sky.
From my last blog post I spoke about drawing on color memories. I remembered this specific evening sky color in Naples from my husband's family village. We were walking past the church and everything seemed so vivid around it. This blue!
Serendipity Or Something In The Air?
Art reflects our shared context. I think we've all been in a bubble and we have all been feeling the effects of isolation and desire to reconnect. We talk about our bubbles a lot. The students and staff at Gage Academy were my bubble for two years of the pandemic. I was also blowing bubbles in order to breath and find balance when things seemed totally off kilter.
Artists are adept at tuning into these shared emotions and often home in on similar themes. It's like having an antenna on our heads maybe that's what led us to the same blue...
To see other bubble paintings, you can check out the series by clicking below.
until next time!