Inspiration for art lives in everyday landscape for Hale

Dr. Carolyn Hale displays her artwork outside her home. Hales inspiration for her art comes from her travels through the McCaleb Initiative for Peace.

Dr. Carolyn Hale displays her artwork outside her home. Hale’s inspiration for her art comes from her travels through the McCaleb Initiative for Peace.

Matisse and Picasso both claim that post-impressionist artist, Paul Cezanne is “the father of us all,” meaning that he is credited for bridging the gab from 19th Century Impressionism to 20th Century cubism. After much success, Cezanne commented, “art is a harmony parallel with nature.”

As Dr. Carolyn Hale walks around her property pointing at various forms of plant life that she finds inspiring, she also makes a comment similar to Cezanne’s.

“Art of the everyday world is influenced by landscape,” Hale said. “I’m drawn to the different types of landscape and what nature can teach us.”

Hale, professor of communication at Missouri Southern, is also a dedicated artist.

“I’ve always been interested in art, even as a child,” Hale said. “I love nature and have several pieces of artwork related to nature around here.”

For the past seven years, she has been in the Ozark Public TV art exhibit. She has also participated in several art exhibits in Wiesbaden, Germany. Hale received a minor in art from Abilene Christian University, a degree in studio art and art history from University of Maryland, and a degree in advanced work in art from University of North Texas.

One of Hale’s main focuses in her art is oil landscapes.

“I see color before I see anything else,” she said.

Before working on a canvas, Hale first works from a sketch.

“A sketch is your immediate contact with nature. In about the first 45 minutes, I become very aware of my breathing changing, and I know that my creative side is coming out,” she said. “I enjoy the shift from sketch to paint because it’s not a just a sketch or photo anymore.

“You’re using the paint in a way that it becomes a rock.”

Hale averages about three to four paintings a year. In the past decade, much of her work has been influenced by the places she has traveled through her trips with the McCaleb Initiative for Peace.

“The McCaleb Initiative for Peace has allowed us to travel to some unusual places,” Hale said. “The rice fields in Japan are absolutely magnificent. I was able to sketch what I really saw there.”

One trip to Northern Ireland inspired Hale to produce some of her favorite pieces of artwork.

“The Irish Sea is the most beautiful water in the whole world,” Hale said. “I blew up one photo of me taken on the rocks of the Irish Sea and worked from that. It’s the largest piece that I’ve done so far.”

Besides landscapes, Hale also experiments with people. The subject of one of her pieces depicts a mother holding her son, which Hale calls “Comfort.”

“The picture is about a son who lost his father. The comforting hand of the mother was the most important part to me. I didn’t put specific features on the mother because she represents all mothers,” Hale said.

However, as far as inspiration goes, nature is still the most influential to Hale. Inspired by the many places that she has been to, Hale surrounds herself and property with several plants that she finds inspiring to her art and to her life.

“We live in such a high-tech world nowadays. Being involved in nature keeps us grounded and brings us back to our true selves,” Hale said. “Americans tend to believe that we can control nature. In Japan, they try to work with nature rather than control it. They see themselves as a part of nature, rather than controllers.”

Hale is inspired by many features, such as landscapes, culture, and other forms of art. While she believes that it’s important to be influenced, it’s also equally important that she stay true to herself.

“I think it’s important to be true to nature and to be influenced by it,” Hale said. “But it’s also equally important to be true to myself as I paint.”