Henry Ward Beecher said, "Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures." While universally true, I can't help but apply this to the abstract expressionism of Carmelle Beaugelin. What makes her work so moving is her incorporation of her personal human experience, as well as allowing her art to be an expression of theology. A new artist, Carmelle began taking her painting seriously just over a year ago (although she admits to painting for as long as can remember). She has had one major work released via series, and another to be released later this year. The first series titled, A Lenten Study and the second, Cosmic Flood.
Her Lenten Study interestingly reminds me of Peter Lipman-Wulf's (1905-1993) series, "Exodus" from the 1960s (perhaps it's the theological subject matter, abstract feel, or series-style work that brings comparison). I enjoy both series greatly. Below are two of my favorite pieces from her Lenten Study. Her use of color is supreme here. With Incriminating Palms (left) she paired two Biblical scriptures, John 12:13, and John 19:15. These scriptures tell of two defining points in the narrative of Jesus' journey to the Cross. In John 12:13, the crowds are praising Him as King waving palm branches in celebration. In John 19:15 the same crowds are demanding He be crucified, stating they have no King. Hence, Incriminating Palms. I am no art critic, but the combination of warm and cold colors, and the seemingly swish of the brush to make the palms look as though they are actually a stamp of real palm leaves, brings the emotion of betrayal center stage. There is an inconsistency in the brush. Light and darkness is conveyed. The intentionality and care for the painting is apparent.
A Lenten Study is a series that "reflects the cycle of grief as experienced by the crowds and disciples that followed Jesus in His journey to death." I can't help but join in on the journey as I view this series.
I do admit Carmelle to be a close friend of mine. I can only hope this doesn't taint the high praise I give her work, for whether a close friend or not, Carmelle has true artistic vision. Later this year she will release her second series titled, Cosmic Flood. It will certainly be a joy to watch this young artist blossom in the years to come.
See more of her work at carmellebeaugelin.com