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Contemporary Art on Exhibit at Katie’s Coffee House

Shared Colors, a contemporary art exhibit showcasing fiber art and mixed media paintings, will be on display at Katie’s Coffee House in Great Falls through January 31.

Cindy Grisdela, a contemporary quilt artist, and Jennifer Duncan, a mixed media painter, share studio space in Great Falls, where they have had many opportunities to enjoy one another’s work. Although creating in different media, they have marveled at the remarkable similarities in their use of color and design. This exhibit highlights the unique creative styles of each artist, while emphasizing the parallels in their work.

“While the collaboration between painter and fiber artist is somewhat unusual, we each choose subject matter that relates to the whimsical perspectives we enjoy expressing about the world around us through our art,” Duncan explains.

“We don’t work in our studio space at the same time, but it’s almost uncanny how our color choices are influenced by the experience of being around each other’s work,” Grisdela adds.

Duncan begins each canvas with an abstract background, then she starts her exploration of an idea or concept that she wants to record. “I draw, and then paint, then draw, then paint again, building layers of color and texture. I think of my process as reverse archeology,” she says. Landscapes and creatures, like the abstract horses in several of the paintings in the exhibit, evolve from the process of layering with paint, paper and pencil, and making marks and patterns in the design. For more information about her work, please visit her website at www.jenniferdduncanart.com

Grisdela has been making quilts for most of her adult life, starting out with traditional methods and designs and then exploring more contemporary techniques in the last ten years. “My primary focus is color and texture,” Grisdela says about her work. She is inspired by nature and her surroundings in the colors of a meadow or the texture of pebbles on a path. Her designs are created intuitively, without a pattern or preconceived idea. “In some ways it’s similar to putting a jigsaw puzzle together, but without the picture on the box to guide me,” she explains. Her designs use primarily solid color fabric, so the color and line of each composition is the main focus. Once the abstract design comes together, she adds texture to the composition with a variety of stitching motifs. These textural lines are added freehand, without a computer or marking ahead of time, so no two pieces are ever exactly alike. “I like to think of the process as drawing with my needle and thread,” Grisdela said. For more information, please visit her website and blog at www.cindygrisdela.com

Both artists are members of Great Falls Studios, a group of over 100 artists in Great Falls who support each other artistically and offer art activities to the community, like the annual Studio Tour held the third week of October every year. They are also studio mates at the Artists’ Atelier, a group studio of 14 artists located at 1144 Walker Road, Suite D, in Great Falls. The Atelier is open 12-4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and by appointment.

Katie’s Coffee is located at 760 Walker Road in Great Falls. Hours are 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.