Mapping an Inner Terrain

The surrealist tradition offers a map of sorts for those who yearn to transfer free-forming ideas directly from the subconscious to the conscious world. This is the path chosen by Californian Bonese Collins Turner: “The interaction between the painting process itself and my experience and remembrances of myths, legends and stories told are often unpredictable and intuitive,” she says. “But when the subconscious is in control, true reality comes out.”

Turner translates the ideas generated in her subconscious to her audience in a language of abstracted, gestural forms combined with concrete, representational symbols. Often, she communicates with both natural forms and Native American imagery (which is often reflective of natural imagery). “I’m intrigued by cultures that have no separate word for art,” says Turner of her attraction to Native American symbolism and ideas. “To Native Americans, art is simply part of life: storytelling, costumes, ceremony. That attitude makes a lot of sense to me.”

Turner lives this ideal in her own life, approaching painting not as a solitary endeavor, but as an experience she shares with her audience. “When you understand what an artist is saying, it’s like sharing an observation about life with another person,” she says. “The content and imagery are personal, but they resonate with others.”

Workshop instructor and juror, Frank Francese is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, Watercolor U.S.A. Honor Society and Watercolor West.

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