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Linda McCord was named the RUBY ARTIST OF OCTOBER 2022 and was automatically entered into the 2nd, annual ARTISTS OF THE YEAR Event and was then named the SAPPHIRE ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2022.

Meet this fearless, award-winning artist, be inspired by her ceaseless determination to surpass herself even amidst ample discouragement and discover her breathtaking, abstract masterpieces in the following feature interview which was created in recognition and celebration of her SAPPHIRE ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2022 title.

"The Dreams of Nature series of abstract acrylics are intended to appear dreamlike and represent nature.  Focus is on rhythm, texture, form and pattern.  I love using repetition of shapes in my work.  The subtle pen and ink look in the negative space that repeats itself throughout the images is the focus of many of the pieces in this series.  My art is an expression of an inner need to escape and find a place where I can go on a creative journey."

Born in California Linda McCord now resides in Washington State.  She works in most of the two-dimensional media and does fashion design in nuno felt.  She was a gallery owner for 10 years and taught painting and printmaking at her local college.  She attended American River College in Sacramento, California where she studied design and drawing but otherwise is self-taught.  She has taken numerous international awards including the prestigious gold award at MiKiHASi, Memories theme, an international film online exhibition for her “In the 90's” watercolor series.  Her art is in the collection of museums, churches, hospitals and colleges.  She is a signature member of the International Society of Acrylic Painters, Northwest Watercolor Society, Georgia Watercolor Society and California Watercolor Association.  Her paintings have been published in several books: Creating Exceptional Color in Acrylic by Lexi Sundell, Painting in Acrylic, the Indispensable Guide by Lorena Kloosterboer and The Complete Guide to Materials and Techniques, edited by Caroline West.

Acrylic (12 x 12 inches)

"Suddenly I could see light and shadow, forms and shapes. Once I drew a face, I knew where I belonged."

GR - What triggered this breakthrough that you mention in the quotation above?  Was it a revelation over a certain artwork, some words of wisdom from a teacher or just a moment when it all coalesced?

LM - I was preparing to paint from a still life setup and could see that if I broke everything down into shapes, it could become much easier.  The side lighting I was using created the most amazing shadows and shapes.

GR - You say that art did not come easily at first.  What was the nature of your struggles early on?  How did you conquer these obstacles to become a triumphant, award-winning artist?

LM - Yes, at the beginning, my husband said "Honey, art is obviously not your thing, so why don't you find another hobby?".  This only increased my determination.  I had to work with the foundation of art and learn to draw.  I found that if I used mathematical concepts, it made drawing easier.  I focused on each shape in relation to other shapes.  Without the firm foundation of a good drawing everything would fall apart.  It took five years and a lot of hard work but I was finally able to frame, sign and sell my work.

GR - What drives you to paint?  What satisfaction do you derive from it and what is the desired outcome and response from the viewer and yourself?

LM - I paint because it's fun, challenging and never, never boring.  I never paint to please others, to get in shows or to sell.  I have to be true to myself and paint what excites me and I must set up new challenges and take risks when things become easy.

"Changing Spots"
Acrylic (14 x 18 inches)

"Tide Wave"
Acrylic (18 x 24 inches)

GR - You recently made a transition from figurative to abstract work.  What prompted this move and what new challenges and discoveries has it presented?

LM - Since I'm always open to new challenges, I wanted to see how difficult it would be to make the transition.  I found that painting abstracts was more of a challenge than realism since I had no reference to go by.  I rely on compositional elements and ask myself if it will be a pyramid, S shape, diagonal, and so forth.

GR - What is your goal in your Dreams Of Nature series?  Is it about experimenting with a technical concept or something more elusive?

LM - Many of the paint pourings looked like wallpaper to me, so I set out to see if I could do it in a way that was more like fine art.  I wanted to focus on strong composition, negative space, shapes, contrast and rhythm.  Creating the cells in the work without overdoing them was a challenge.  I like the cells to look like pen and ink.  With some of the pieces, I adapted a technique I used when I did etching by using prominent cells in a positive space then repeated softly in a negative area.  Many of the pieces are based on various techniques I learned as a printmaker.

GR - You say that you design your work around mathematical concepts rather than emotion.  How did this interesting strategy come to be and can you give an example of one of these concepts?  Does an unintended emotion ever make a surprise appearance in the finished piece?

LM - I always focus on shapes and how they balance in a piece.  For instance, if I'm drawing an eyeball, I don't see the eye as an eye.  I see the white of the eye as a triangle, then the circular shape for the iris and pupil.  I have been told that some of my realistic pieces create emotion in the viewer, such as the series I did of my elderly mother.  It was not my intention when I painted that series.    

"Formation" & "Downhill"
Works in progress with final result

GR - Could you explain your process?  Does colour come first or somewhere along the way?  Do you return to a painting over a few days or do you complete it in one sitting?

LM - Most of the abstracts are done in one sitting.  I plan my work carefully before I start. My colors are drawn from the old standard color schemes: Complementary, split compliment, analogous, monochromatic and such.  My designs are also decided on before I start any piece of work with lots of room left for flexibility as I am working on the piece.  Since my abstracts are mostly paint pourings, the control is limited.

GR - Is there a special process involved in acrylic pouring?   How does the fast-drying nature of acrylic assist your working method?

LM - With acrylic pouring much depends on the formula of the mixtures of paint and how the mixtures interact with one another.  The base I use is satin acrylic house paint.  The colors are a mixture of acrylic paint and un-tinted acrylic house paint. The cells are produced by adding floetrol to the mixture.  It took months of experimenting to find a formula I was happy with for the cell enhancer but experimenting is what I love to do. The fast-drying nature of acrylic works against me so decisions have to be made quickly.

"Lost Treasure"
Acrylic (10 x 15 inches)

Acrylic (11 x 14 inches)

GR - How does your background as an owner of a gallery and a painting teacher contribute to your work as an artist?

LM - Teaching made me think about art in a step-by-step manner in order to portray this to my students.  I also did research and applied some of what I learned from this to my art.  Being a gallery owner did not influence my fine art but it did affect the nuno-felted fashion designs I was doing during those years.

GR - Do you have an idea of what subject or medium you might explore next?

LM - Right now, I'm in one of those terrible dry spells.  They never worry me much since I always come out of it with a new series of stronger work.  The major thrust of my art is done with a theme in mind and a series of at least twenty pieces.  Meanwhile I'm doing some black and white paintings.  I'm feeling a draw toward returning to watercolor or maybe some unusual still life paintings?  We'll see where that leads.

GR - Thank you Linda for sharing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your creative practice.  Congratulations for all your artistic success and for winning SAPPHIRE ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2022.  We look forward to following your career and showcasing more of your work.

LM - Thank you so much for this incredible opportunity.  It is truly an honor to be included with artists of this caliber.  I'm looking forward to entering more of Gallery Ring's opportunities in the future.

Acrylic (12 x 12 inches)

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