“There are three types of days. Days where I can do everything, days where I’m fine but can’t do it all, and days where I’m interrupted, and we have to start again.”
Clad in paint-spattered coveralls, artist Bethany Noël shows me around her 500-square-foot Holliston Mills studio in Holliston, Massachusetts. We’re “supervised” by her four-legged studio mate and trail companion, Sargent, a large and soulful-eyed German Shepherd mix. “He’s named after the painter,” she confirmed.
Under filtered winter light, a series of squiggly black-and-white plein air ink sketches rest in loose rows on a table running half the length of the studio’s windowed wall. She pulls a palm-sized one off the table and shows me. “This is the source sketch for ‘Joy,’” she said.
The finished painting, currently on view at the Open Door Arts Gallery at the Worcester Art Museum, in Worcester, Massachusetts, is a much larger, kaleidoscopic aria of layered, pointillist color. Burning low in the sky, a late fall, or perhaps, early spring sun framed by two spindly tree trunks sends light trails towards the viewer through a sparse forest glade awash with color. A cloudless ombré sky fades behind the black slashes of tree limbs, from a Windex®-blue to turquoise, to a blinding ball of yellow sunlight. The forest floor is a flickering carpet of flora, rendered in a rainbow of stained-glass colors on a black gesso ground.