Friday, February 6, 2009


Do Not Be Afraid of the Night
Becky Nielsen

WELCOME, BECKY, of GEMINI RIVER ROCKS on Etsy. I came across this wonderful artist's work when adding a post out on the forums, looking for artists who would like to have their "Etsy minis" displayed on my DZFANTASY blog for the month of February. I love her creative way of using rocks as her canvas, and asked her if she'd like to be a featured artist on my blog. Luckily, she responded....and here she is!

What led you to start creating your art/craft?

I first started painting almost eight years ago. I was skipping rocks on the Hudson River with my grandson, and one that I prepared to throw caught my attention. It looked so much like a bird that I decided to bring it home and paint it – and we started looking for other stones that the water had sculpted. The shape and the texture that are what appeal to me most when I’m collecting rocks to paint. It helps determine what it will be.

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?

Acrylic paints have been my primary choice – they dry so easily, adapt to use in a variety of ways, and come in so many great colors ready made. When I am painting my pins and small pieces it would be too time consuming to have to mix colors individually all the time. In recent years I’ve been studying traditional iconography. There I’ve learned to use egg tempera and find that I can get some wonderful effects on the stones with this – it is much more time consuming but the outcomes are very satisfying.

What aspect of creating your art/craft do you find the most enjoyable?

What I most enjoy about painting is how I can use my life experiences to develop my own style. And while sometimes I get frustrated when I know that I’m lacking in some skill or technical knowledge or art history, I accept that I am where I am, trusting that this is my particular journey and it’s still going on. People often identify quite deeply with a quality in my work – I am very moved when a piece is chosen to give comfort to someone who is ill or is commissioned to celebrate a joyous occasion.

If you had to choose a fruit OR a vegetable to describe your art/craft, what would you choose and why?

You ask me to choose a fruit or vegetable to describe my art – I’d like to say a pomegranate – because I love them so. But I see them as complex. Maybe my work is more like a blueberry – simple, accessible, packed with fiber and vitamins, things that are good for you. Blueberries grow in the sun – even when my work is serious, it isn’t dark.

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art/craft?

Messages – Hmmm. My pins are to make people smile – to help people share their stories. If you’re wearing one with a tennis player on it – someone might start a conversation with you about that. My “No Boxes” pins have elicited some great conversations with people about how we pigeon hole each other. Framed pieces also tell stories or draw attention to things that I think are important. I have series of angels, sojourners and refugees, storytellers and teachers. My triptychs can cover a lot of ground, for example highlighting events in a couple’s 25 years of marriage.

Please Be Mine Pin

What advice do you have for other artists/crafters?

My advice for other artists or crafters is to think carefully about why they are doing what they do, and to let that guide the decision making process. It’s so easy to get pulled off track or discouraged if that clarity gets lost.

Becky, thanks for sharing your thoughts and wonderful creations with everyone! Be sure to pay a visit to GEMINI RIVER ROCKS. Becky's work is so unique and original! Her pins are really fun!

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