Blog: The Creation of an Award Winning One-In-A-Million Work of Art

Christine Alfery

Posted on September 21 2020

Blog: The Creation of an Award Winning One-In-A-Million Work of Art
Featured image: Entrapment

Entrapment has been exhibited in more than one juried national exhibition and won third place in the American Art Awards. I consider it one of my “One-In-A-Million” works of art. These works are why I paint every day – seeking freedom in my marks, my colors, my soul. They don’t happen every day – but when they do - I stand back in wonder. They become a thing in themselves – independent of me, yet you can see me in those works. 

One-In-A-Million works never come easy. They can’t be forced. They are not controlled. It is not up to me – as much as I would love to think I can “make” the one-in-a-million works happen, it just doesn’t work that way. That holds true for “Entrapment”. 

“Entrapment” began as “Magic Carpet Ride”. I loved the brushwork and graphite in that work. The mix of thick and thin watercolor, the changing brushstrokes, the mark making – so exciting. I left part of the background white – I never do that. It blew my mind! It seemed to be well received by my collectors, but I was disappointed when it didn’t get into exhibitions. Perhaps it wasn’t as good as I thought it was – or maybe the other works I entered were just better. Maybe I was overly self-indulgent imagining myself flying on a magic carpet with the wind in my hair. Who knows. So, as I often do, when something doesn’t work – I changed it.

I turned the work 90° to the right, and chopped off my head. This took out much of the white space and made the work much more solid.

Suddenly the magic carpet became a wall. The black lines with green and magenta were now a barrier. They reach up and left before curving back to the right toward a cage.  Through the center channel and near the top you can see things caught, trapped – they cannot emerge from the energy in the middle. The circles inside bounce around – trapped, unable to escape. 

Turning the work changed the focus, but allowed me to retain some of what I initially loved about it – the brushwork. I used a big fat water color brush on the pink and orange and green in the wall. Elsewhere I used a thin brush – creating the pink circles on top. The thin black lines create a powerful focal point and bring the eye into the work. The curve of the wall brings your eye into the chaos of everything trapped in the tunnel. I love the mix of the skinny line on top of the luscious fat brush strokes within all that chaos trapped inside.

Although much of the energy is trapped, some has escaped – I used a dry blue brush to create the circles in the lower left - they emerge, dropping out from the chaos. This work became part of an entire series I did on entrapment and escape.

I don’t like to put labels on things, but I often find that my works fit into series or themes depending on what I’m thinking about at the time. “Entrapment” became a One-In-A-Million work when I allowed it to escape from what I was trying to make it be. I was the barrier, and once I got out of the way the work came together.

In the end I realized it was supposed to be this way. Me flying on a magic carpet was too center focused. When I let go, when I stop trying, when I let those wonderful loose brushstrokes be what they were meant to be - that is when I found the freedom I’m always seeking in my artwork. When I let the composition be what it always wanted to be, everything came together. 


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