An Alchemy of Color & Emotion • The Evolution of STACIE ROSE

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, ,   From Issue 874   By: Robert E Martin

31st January, 2019     0

Stacie Rose is one of those rare visual artists whose work is equally engaging, singular, and deeply personal. Utilizing a broad and often vivid spectrum of color to convey the mood and essence of her paintings, her work has shifted from depicting likeness in her still-life and portraiture work, to capturing unseen emotions and feelings hidden within her subjects through her recent impressionistic outings, which incorporate the use of color, patterns and intricate line work as a tool to translate a deeper level of understanding of her subject - as if the brush pulls from her subconscious and places the inner workings of her vision onto canvas for all to appreciate.

A wonderful litany of her work can now be seen at The Saginaw Art Museum in their latest exhibition, The Evolution of Stacie Rose, which will be on display through February 18th.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Every artist was first an amateur”.  In the case of Stacie, who was first exposed to oil painting through her mother while growing up, she freely admits “At that time I didn’t have much desire to take up painting.”  After moving to Lansing, where she lived for 20 years, Stacie got her degree in portrait photography and in 2000 moved back to Saginaw to help out the family business. “When I moved back here my Mom and I were looking for things to do together and she suggested we take a watercolor painting class together. After taking a couple classes I felt I was terrible at it and couldn’t get it right. I assumed my Mom was the one with the artistic skill; and that was my first foray into the world of watercolor.”

Then one fateful day while looking at a watercolor exhibition at the Andersen Enrichment Center, Stacie saw a painting of mason jars created by artist Bill Brinker and fell in love with his creation. “I said to myself, ‘I have to learn this’. Fortunately, at the time my cousin was taking watercolor painting classes in Frankenmuth and Bill Brinker was teaching the classes. I started taking his classes and continued working with him and joined Saginaw Area Watermedia Artists, which inspired me from that time on to improve. Since then I’ve been painting more regularly since about 2003 and really enjoy it.”

One of the distinguishing qualities of her portraiture work is the lifelike luminosity of skin tones in her subjects. “Watercolor has the advantage of being luminous because unlike working with oils or acrylics, you see the white of paper beneath the wash, so there’s a glow about watercolors that can be set by how you handle them,” explains Stacie. “If you look closely I’m not using realistic skin tones, but shades of pink, purple and yellow that are layered like washes of pigment, so the white of the paper keeps shining through and you see overlapping hues, which I think adds to the luminosity.”

“I try to add just dabs of color to do the shading on my portraits, which is a style I fell into over time,” she continues. “Early on I took some classes with Luther Hale, who would encourage us to add more color. He would say a tree, if you look closely, is not just grey or brown, which led me to throw unexpected colors into the mix.”

While Stacie started out focusing more upon still life work, she enjoys painting stills and portraits equally. “There’s only so many portraits one can do of people in one’s family, so I want my work to be inspiring. I’m not the type of artist that will specialize on one subject and explore that for years and years. I’ve got to change things up, so if I do a portrait the next piece will be a still life; and just recently have started exploring more abstract works.  I think I keep trying to find my style; and while I feel my portraits do have a distinct style I’m working towards, every time I sit down to do a painting I think how do I want it to look and am always working on something different. There’s so many different ways you can treat a subject.”

Through the amalgamation of personal desire and creative impulse, Stacie moved into her latest phase of more abstract and impressionistic work. “I think many hobby artists who are happy with painting occasionally, often strive to create a painting like a photo and attempt to capture what they see in front of them,” reflects Stacie. “I’m trying to grow beyond that by using what I see in front of me more as reference material, only abstracting the shape by focusing more upon the lines and textures of the subject, which is the path I’ve been more interested in taking lately.”

“I’m using some different multi-media techniques and incorporating it more into my work,” she continues. “A few years ago I started with this triptych, which is a set of three associated works on display. It depicts how I see the artist and human beings evolving. When we are young, we imagine what our life will be; after that we create our life the way we imagined it; and beyond that, once we create we hope to inspire.”

Once again in 2014-15, Stacie decided to try something different by creating an impressionistic triptych with a darker and more limited array of color. “Most of my work tends to be bright and bold and I wanted to break the mold and tone it down and see what I could do with muted colors,” she explains. “These pieces delve more into my religious beliefs, representing different portions of the Bible. In one we have the Resurrection and in the other we have the Exodus, which for me carries a lot of strength and power. It’s interesting because when I initially displayed these works, I heard people talking about how scary they are, yet I see them so differently.  While my part in the artwork is painting it, the bigger part is how viewers see it.”

When asked the most challenging component involved in dealing with watercolor, Stacie smiles and responds: “Having enough time to do what I want. I love painting but I also work full time and teach through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) out at Saginaw Valley State University, so painting is something I do on the weekends. I spend at least one day - either a Saturday or Sunday - and my husband leaves me alone so I can focus on my painting. If I could paint every day I would love that.”

“My pivotal goal right now is to work with textures and patterns and focus upon taking things that I love, only putting them together not necessarily in a traditional still-life or portraiture context, but with this more impressionistic approach.”

“I wouldn't be where I'm at today with my art if it weren't for all the encouragement I've received and artist friends I've made at (SAWA) Saginaw Area Watermedia Artists,” concludes Stacie. “If people are looking to experiment with watercolor I encourage them to contact the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through SVSU, which has a wonderful array of classes; and also attend one of the SAWA meetings. We meet almost every month on the third Thursday at 6:00 PM.  People can also reach out to me by sending an email to me at

The Evolution of Stacie Rose is on display at the Saginaw Art Museum through February 18th. The museum is located at 1126 N. Michigan Ave., Saginaw and open Tuesday - Saturday from Noon to 5 PM.


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