July 01, 2014
Like many students, mosaic artist Beth Himsworth began experimenting with mixed media during her school art classes. “I grew up with fantastic art teachers in school and was exposed to many media,” Himsworth said. From drawing and painting to using clay, enamel, and paper mache, she said her art classes were always her favorite time of day.
Though her love of art stuck with her through college, she studied nursing and eventually worked in a Chicago-area Intensive Care Unit. Himsworth then spent 18 years in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil supervising and training workers for medical, vaccination, and dental clinics.
During her time in the Amazon and later in southern Brazil's mountainous Serra Gaúcha region, Himsworth developed a passion for the abundance of nature’s colors and surprises. Upon returning to the US in 2005, Himsworth was ready to get back into art. Captivated by the vivid colors, texture, and translucency of glass, Himsworth began creating contemporary glass mosaics that combine the ancient art of mosaic with the complexity of modern glass.
By 2011, Himsworth was working with Studios on High Gallery, Columbus' oldest artist-owned and operated gallery. The exhibiting artists, who are selected by a jury, take turns staffing the gallery while simultaneously creating art on-site, providing the opportunity for art patrons to meet the artists personally and engage with their creative processes.
It was during this time, while Himsworth was on the gallery’s jury, that registered Art Therapist and artist Joan Zeller began working with Studios on High Gallery. “I was really happy to see the great combination of technical skill and lively imagination that [Joan] brings,” Himsworth said.
When the Viewpoints murals series was announced in 2013, Himsworth’s vividly beautiful piece titled Koi Garden was chosen to represent Studios on High Gallery. “I love all things water!” she said. “The elegance of koi intrigues me.” Influenced by the indigenous rivers of Brazil, Himsworth’s time in the tropical climate allowed her to capture the vitality of the rainforest and her love of nature, which she feels gives her work its “vibrancy and uniqueness.”
It was the gallery artists themselves who chose Koi Garden to represent their studio. “Because Studios on High is run by the artists who show their work here, we encouraged each other to pick one piece of our own that we thought would be a good fit for this project,” Zeller said. “Then we voted on the piece we liked the best and Beth was the winner.”
At the monthly Viewpoints Artist Talk during the July Gallery Hop, Zeller will discuss how artists are inspired and what they do to turn that inspiration into a creative product. “The wonderful thing about artists is that their inspiration is very individual,” Zeller said. “Travel, nature, and life experiences tend to inspire me. Finding the balance between getting inspiration and using that inspiration to make art is a balancing act.”
Zeller feels Studios on High Gallery is an ideal environment to nurture growth amongst artists. “There are always artists around who are wonderful sounding boards for advice or guidance artistically,” she said.
Himsworth agrees artists can be great assets to each other by sharing their own encounters with the world. “I think that artists need to connect and with each other to share their inspiration and that we need to seek new life experiences,” Himsworth said. “Go on a trip, learn a new hobby or read in a new subject – world history or a bio of Diego Rivera – things that will open new thinking pathways.”
The July Viewpoints Artist Talk will be at Studios on High Gallery from 4-6pm on Saturday, July 5 during the July Gallery Hop.
– Michelle Gibson