There was a time in the mid 1990s when I had gone through my second divorce and was waffling between careers. I was living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, an artist’s Mecca. I signed up for a watercolor class in the evening, joining a room full of mostly women (mostly older than I was) as we learned about paper, paint, color, and shape. I had no art training whatsoever.
All of my paintings were made from photographs, except the “goddess” paintings. They were inspired by postcards I found on a trip to Maui. I loved the original images, and, wanted to use them as inspiration but not to exactly copy them. I wish I had the originals as I would like to credit the artist who inspired me.
I diminished my work, because the paintings were created from photos and not “plein air style” or purely from my imagination. Now that I’m older, I choose not to get on my case in that way and I actually appreciate the work here. They’ve been stored in a box for nearly 20 years. It’s amazing how feelings can change, opinions can change, when I get off my case.
You may see some signed as “Annie Benton.” That was my given name/nickname. I changed my name from Mary Anne Benton to Roxanne Benton Darling in December, 1999. I wanted to make a change in my life, do something, get out of the boxes of the 1900s, and launch myself in the year 2000 freer and less confined. I suppose it could be considered part of my coming out as an artist, a type of performance art giving myself into a new persona.
I threw a lot of other paintings and drawings away as I’ve moved over the years. I’m really glad I kept these. They represent many of my favorite experiences – traveling in Italy, boating in Lake Powell, taking a peak into the Divine Feminine on Maui. Feel free to drop me an email to share your feelings and ideas.