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Nedra Denison

Belen, NM - United States

Nedra  Denison - Fine Artist

Nedra Denison

Member Since: 05/19/2011

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I have been involved in art most of my life but it was not until recovering from a major personal challenge I discovered my true passion for art in the form of pyrography.

I started drawing and oil painting at the age of 13 and continued until a nervous breakdown caused by stress from my job forced me to give up my career and all interest in art. It was not until 8 years later with the help of a my new golden retriever, Max, that I began healing and my interest in art was renewed in the form of woodburning (pyrography). Max and pyrography became the keys to my personal recovery and the beginning of a new life. The healing process turned my life around and my focus and passion in art was changed forever.
I am a self-taught pyrographic artist and use a technique that I refer to as my “smooth shading technique”. I always loved old sepia-toned photos and my goal was to use pyrography to create natural, lifelike sepia-toned art. Working with wood gives more meaning to my work because of the aesthetic quality—the feel of the grain and smell of the wood as it is burning.

Unlike painting or drawing where you don’t have to think too much about what type “canvas” to use, working with wood requires a “connection” between the idea and the wood. I might have a project in mind and have to find just the right piece of wood that will make the design work. Sometimes I have no idea what I want to do but I have a great piece of wood so I let the wood talk to me. My goal is to make my burnings look natural, lifelike and to come alive on my “canvas”. There are times when I get a block and can’t quite figure out what I want to do, but when things connect I am filled with passion and my work just seems to flow. My dad used to call that “artistic temperament”.

The inspiration behind my work comes from my life experiences and travels. I have lived all over the country but my love is the southwest where I have returned after a long absence. My personal challenges have helped me to grow, mature as an artist and to view life and my surroundings differently than ever before and as a result I also begun to explore and experiment other mediums.

Over the last few years I have also been working with gourds and it has become my new passion. Like wood, it is a very unique “canvas” and there are no two alike. Sometimes I know the minute I see a gourd what I want to do with it and other times I find gourds and then have to figure it out but I find that working with gourds allows for more opportunities for creativity and incorporating a variety of techniques such as carving or Pyrography; mediums such as paint, shimmers or ink dyes; and embellishments such as beads, leather, natural fiber, feathers or other embellishments. It provides me so many opportunities to express myself and discover the joys of working with nature’s unique canvas’.

Recently I started making gourd masks. I have found this to be one of the most exciting processes and has opened up my mind and imagination as I create each face. I can incorporate many mediums as well a techniques and it seems the more I allow myself to 'let go' the more creative the mask becomes as it evolves. Each mask is like a new adventure!

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