Artist Spotlight: Madeline Norton
We are very fortunate to be able to feature such incredible local artists here at Rembrandt Yard. One of these artists is the super talented abstract painter, Madeline Norton. We are in awe of her gorgeous paintings, and love that the album she was listening to and inspired by while working on that piece is included with her artwork.
We decided we needed to know more about her, so we reached out to ask some questions. We hope you will be as inspired by her as we are!
Tell us a little about yourself, Madeline:
My name is Madeline and I am an abstract painter.
The older I got, the harder I found it was to really connect to things. Life was moving so fast and somehow transformed itself into one balled up memory, where I found it harder to slow down and interact with each moment. I had all these nostalgic memories, but didn’t feel like I was experiencing the same things in adulthood.
These fleeting moments that flash in and out of my present consciousness produced feelings that would sometimes only linger for a few seconds. I would often contemplate, how can I capture these moments, how can I keep them, how can I pull them out when I want to feel them? It’s like when you look up at the moon, and wish you could break off a piece to always have it with you when you wanted to look at it again.
Through the frustration of trying to figure this out, something was going on behind the scenes. During each and every one of these moments, my subconscious would scrape off a little piece, and would pour it into a stream. Throughout my whole life, my creative subconscious stream was filling up. Through painting, I was able to adventure out and find this stream. This is where I met my inner child.
Now I go out into the world and experience as much as I can, without worrying about taking it in, and trusting my subconscious to take care of the rest. I can feel when my inner creative stream starts to fill up, then I release my creative energy into my paintings, while connecting with my inner child.
Through painting, I feel my inner child, I feel beautiful, I feel creative, I feel nostalgic. I feel like I have everything I need at the tips of my hand, and all the tools needed to make and discover beauty. I feel free, I feel alive, I feel light, I feel expressive, I feel joy, I feel brave, I feel adventurous.
I found this through painting, which is why I want to share this with you. I am not classically trained, I have not taken classes or college courses, I just did it because it makes me feel good. I found my outlet to connect to my creative inner stream and my inner child, and you can find that too- you don’t have to be trained or knowledgeable, you can just do it. Whether it be music, writing, dancing, singing, sculpting or anything – just start doing it and exploring your creativity and then share it with the world and inspire other people.
How would you describe your artistic style?
Abstract Artist. When I paint, I tap into my inner creative stream that fills up as I experience the world, and then I tap into my inner child who is free and ready to adventure. With all of this creative energy at my fingertips, I put on an album, and without any thought or plan, I pick out a color that feels good and just start painting. Sometimes I use watercolor to put base shapes down, other times its a blank canvas, and I move from one side to another, just creating what I feel like at the time. It’s like I am able to tap into this world that is so free and uninhibited, and just play with my inner child and release my creative energy. A really big thing for me is nostalgia. I will often reminisce on childhood memories through writing about them, reading about them, looking at old pictures, talking to my family and flipping through my old storybooks. I bring myself into the mindset of my nostalgic memories and my early childhood which makes it easier for me to connect with my inner child and to feel more free.
What materials do you most like to use?
I mainly use heavy body acrylics on canvas. I love using watercolor in the beginning to create base shapes, so when I pull out the acrylics, I have to work against the path of the watercolor, which creates beautiful overall shapes and depth. I also like to experiment with pastels, fluid acrylics, glazing liquids, rollers, squeegees, pallet knifes, forks, and whatever I can find. My secret ingredient in some of my paintings is Valspar color paint samples. These colors are current with the interior design trends and colors that people paint their walls. Each of my paintings have a medium gloss to seal it in and a polymer gloss varnish to finish it up with a nice top coat that protects each painting from dust and damage.
What would you say makes you stand out from other artists in the area?
In order to grow yourself as an artist, you need to go out and experience and meet other local artists. From there you gain inspiration and see the stories and experiences other artists paint. I adore all the artwork and talent of the local artists in Boulder and the surrounding towns. I have artwork from local artists Sarah Kinn and Clint Eccher in my studio as inspiration.
What makes me stand out, as well as other artists stand out, are the experiences we have had and the stories we want to tell through our art. My nostalgia, my inner child and my inner creative stream tell a different story. I paint abstractly based on my experiences and feelings, and without a plan I start painting on a canvas pulling from the creative energy I feel in the moment. I use bright colors with a lot of brush strokes and mix right on the canvas to create depth and energy. I never have a plan, I just tap into my creative stream and just paint whatever I am feeling in the moment. This creates a whimsical and energetic vibe throughout each painting.
What is interesting about each of my paintings, is that you can look at it for any given amount of time, and you can make out different shapes and images. Everyone who sees my paintings can see different shapes and images because it reflects who they are, what they feel and what they are going through. I love that different people see different things, and can point out what I hadn’t seen before.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your paintings from?
I draw my inspiration from nostalgia and my present experiences. I like to go out and experience the world as much as possible, trusting my subconscious to scrape of a piece of each moment and pour it into my inner creative stream. I like to connect to my inner child by thinking about past memories. I often times flip through old storybooks I had when I was a child right before I paint. I also like to write a lot, and to make lists about my favorite memories, favorite sounds, favorite things to look at, and then go back and read through it before I paint. I like to read books and to sit in my chair in my studio and just look around at things, which often time inspires me to start painting. Often times I can feel my inner creative stream fill up and know when it is time to paint.
What artists inspire you?
I look up to and gain most of my inspiration from Van Gogh and Peter Max. Artists that inspire me include Bobbie Burgers, Felicity O’Connor, Wendy McWilliams, Amira Rahim, Gwen Seemel, Sarah Kinn and Clint Eccher. Also, did you see the Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibit at the Denver Art Museum – inspiration for a lifetime!
Can you give us some juicy facts that others might not know about you?
Fact 1: I use Valspar Color Samples in some of my pieces. The color samples that I pickup from the local hardware store are in line with the interior design trends and what people are painting on their walls. This enables my style of artwork to use colors that can accent your walls and match themes that are going through your house.
Fact 2: Each painting I have is specifically connected to an artist, album or type of music. On the back of each of my canvases you can see, who or what each painting was created to. My biggest inspirations in music are Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Gregory Alan Isakov.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to see live music. I can’t hold a tune or play music myself, but I love taking it in and dancing to it. I am normally at Boulder Theater, Fox Theater, Ogden Theater, Bluebird Theater or any local venue seeing live music. Some of the best shows I have seen are The Wood Brothers, Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth, Umphrey’s McGee, and my favorite show ever has been a tie between Neil Young in Telluride and Gregory Alan Isakov with The Colorado Symphony at Boettcher Concert Hall.
How do you take your coffee?
I like to drink tea because it is a lot mellower, and there are so many different teas that have different effects and it is fun to experiment with them. My favorite tea is hibiscus and I like drinking it with a big glob of honey!
I love the Avery Lilikoi. I play kickball in the fall and will always have a pack of those with me.
What is your spirit animal?
My spirit animal is definitely a cat. They are very complicated and loving creatures. You have to work to understand what they want, and you need to have an understanding to interact with them. When you peel back each of their layers, and understand how they are, the relationship is amazing. Sometimes I want to be out and about and around the crowd, and other times I want to look you in the eye as I knock over a glass of water.
Thank you Madeline, we loved finding out more about the woman behind this beautiful artwork!
Find out more on Madeline Norton on her:
We also have some of her pieces on display here at Rembrandt Yard, and all of our artwork is available for purchase.