Roxanne Colyer

                           Working the River - An Exploration

E.T. and Me


My art career began with a gallery at age 15 and I’ve enjoyed juried and solo shows, with a retrospective and awards throughout my career. Recently, I began to question why I make art, if I like what I create and if I was contenting myself with comfortable muscle memory. I challenged myself to a year-long retreat hoping to discover answers, then realized the questions raised will reiterate for a lifetime. The inquiry becomes a perpetual process of self-examination and exploration rather than arriving at the destination of an answer.

The series, "Working the River," started to percolate as an astonished Alaska girl experiencing venerable architecture on my first visit to Europe. Later, I became intrigued with the old mill buildings in Oregon City, especially when I understood some of them are slated for demolition.

I love the excitement of life on a moving body of water so the river is a generous repository for concept and subject. Over the course of a year, the significance has expanded to include the “river of life” and “ocean as repository for the river." I want these paintings to convey I’m passionate about noticing and recording a disappearing world. "Working the River" respectfully bows to ancestors who worked the river, the river’s bounteous provision growing up and to the artist as adventurer.

The series, "E.T. and Me" holds space for the occasional homesick side trip to locations and experiences bred into my Alaska bones.  

The consistent thread through the acrylic and oil images is a love of color, line, and a leaning toward impressionism. I inventoried my strengths as an artist and considered ways to emphasize those strengths in the work. I use a limited, clear-color palette for each painting, more recently utilizing a palette knife instead of brushes, also incorporating intentional mark-making and drawing. The dedication to portraying the vigor of the river remains consistent while the mediums provide an opportunity to inform each other in terms of technique, execution and subject.

I believe vibrant art comes through fearless exploration, the images bubbling up from the depths of the living creative water pouring through all of us from a generous Universal river.