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All Things Ampersand

Artist Profile: Doris Vasek

Ask Doris Vasek about what inspires her, and you’ll immediately hear her passion for creating intense, beautiful, and custom color.

“I feel as though color is like music. In music, there are only so many notes to work with, but look at the variety that you can create.”

Doris, by her own estimation, “came to painting later in life,” but is also an avid quilter, weaver, and stained glass artisan.

For Doris, her textile-based work focused on articulating the correct color choice for the items she created. If she couldn’t find the yarn shades that she wanted, she would dye them herself. She would travel to find the right material to match her ideas.

Around 15 years ago, Doris was considering new ways to express her creativity and decided to pursue painting. She gravitated toward one of the most technically-challenging media: watercolor.

“I had no preconceived notion of watercolor, but creating the color [for paint] was the same as for yarn. I knew instinctively how to mix the colors to find what I needed.”

Her passion for watercolor evolved into building relationships with galleries in and around Dallas and Round Top (Texas), giving her more exposure to artists and workshops.

While learning something new was in and of itself inspiring, she had a greater goal in mind: bring more artists to her hometown of Rockwall, Texas.

In her online searches for inspiration (and workshop artists), Doris discovered the work of Rebecca Crowell. She was struck by Crowell’s painting and invited her to lead an oil and cold wax workshop.

“I was excited about the medium, but oil paint was new. My take was that I’d better figure it out! My other concern was that my work to that point was always literal, never abstract.”

Once she started working in the media, she felt a meaningful connection to it.

“Painting with oil and cold wax is tactile and luscious — the texture is almost silky. It dries quicker, and allows me to build layers and manipulate the paint.”

Doris describes her painting process as intuitive and fluid.

“I start with color combinations that I like. From there, it’s a matter of layering and cutting back into the paint until a composition starts to appear. I ask myself will it continue? Often when I cut into the paint [with a palette knife] I can start to see the layers of color. Sometimes it’s a surprise what comes forward.”

“I love knowing that all of the colors I have ever applied will always be a part of each work, even if they are deep down in the layers of the painting.”

To experiment with the depth of color and texture of small-scale cold wax paintings, Doris turned to Ampersand Claybord Box Kits. She had used almost all of Ampersand’s products before, so knew the quality of the boxes would be perfect.

To her delight, she found that these small — but highly detailed — works resonated with buyers.

“Each Claybord box is one-of-a-kind. They’re textured and touchable, but need to be handled as a piece of art.”


Doris Vasek is a native Texan and paints in her studio in Rockwall, Texas. Her art is in numerous private collections and has been accepted to juried exhibitions across the country. Currently, she teaches oil and cold wax workshops around Texas. See her work at www.dorisvasek.com and instagram.com/dorisvasekart.

 

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