Darlene Moore is an abstract painter who describes her dramatic and vibrant creations as silent poetry.
“Everyone sees something different,” says this Airdrie artist. “I might show you a picture I’ve done, and you might say, ‘I see a whale,’ and somebody else will say, ‘I see a guy standing there.’”
“It’s like poetry,” she explains, “because it means something different to whoever is looking at it.”
Her father, who was an accomplished self-taught artist, inspired Moore.
“He was totally colour blind, but did some amazing art – mostly Western scenes.”
If he ran into difficulty, she says, her mother would help him pick the right colours. As a child, he encouraged Moore to pursue art. She attended art school, painted unique designer nails for a time, and then discovered decorative art in the late 1990s. This involved painting designs or images on paper-towel holders, chairs and tables.
However, it was when she and a friend, Mary Frost, also an artist, went to an arts supply store in Calgary that she saw an abstract painting by Alberta artist Samantha daSilva.
“To me, abstract was like disjointed faces. I didn’t like it, but when I saw hers, I just loved it. It spoke to me.”
daSilva was also an abstract-art instructor, and Moore immediately began attending her classes.
“I couldn’t get enough,” she says laughing.
It would give Moore a “large, white canvas,” and the freedom to play with the colours that reflect her feelings about life.
“I saw something like the (Calgary) flood, and I just had to go paint about it,” she says.
Her work is organic, bold and random, with titles like Forest Fire and Frozen Tundra.
The painter has works hanging in Miami and Italy, and will have a large show at Airdrie Public Library this fall. She is also president of the Airdrie Regional Arts Society, which promotes local artists. “We have a lot of amazing artists, but it’s like a close-kept secret.”
Moore is currently taking lessons from Wes Jones, an artist and teacher at Bert Church High School, learning the fine detail of realism.
“He’s teaching me how to go from a photograph and put it on a canvas.”
Which does she prefer?
“You know, I’m kinda torn,” she says. “I like the detail of realism, but I also like the freeness of abstract. Who knows? I might connect the two. With art, anything goes.”