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Q&A with Award Winner Octavia Frazier

Octavia Frazier’s Color Blocking in acrylic and mixed media won the Evelyn Turner Award.

The best-in-show piece from “ColorField” began, appropriately, by applying color. Artist Octavia Frazier says color is what got her into painting and it’s how she started Color Blocking, which won the Evelyn Turner Award in this exhibit. We asked her to tell us more about her love of painting and her art career:

How did Color Blocking come about? What is your creative process like?
Octavia Frazier: I created this painting by beginning with color. I begin my paintings by applying paint to the canvas/board and then looking at the balance and composition of the paint. I then start applying various mediums to the canvas. During each step in my process, I review each of the applications to see how I like the effect, and I look at the composition and make changes if I feel they are needed to ensure the rhythm, pattern, movement, and balance. I look for light, value, and texture as I move through each step.

I must say that I do a lot of reviewing and editing with each step. I will leave the room and come back to observe my work with a fresh perspective, and make changes as I go through the entire process. I plan the piece based on a theme that may be required in a show or art exhibit, and I determine the media based on whether I am exhibiting something right away and need to work quickly, or whether I can work for a longer period. I might use oil paint for something that I don’t need to turn around quickly for a particular exhibit. I stop painting when I feel the work is complete. I consider it complete when it answers my basic questions of: balance, movement, pattern, rhythm, and value.

When I feel I have accomplished those elements, I am satisfied.

What different media and tools did you use for Color Blocking?
I used large brushes, palette knives, paper, and gloss medium on wooden panel.

Color Blocking — detail
Color Blocking — detail

Why are you a painter?
I love the way paint looks when I apply it to a canvas/board. I like to experience color and texture and paint gives me that satisfaction.

When did you first become interested in art?
Early on in my childhood I realized that I loved to draw and paint with color. I looked at my surroundings and the color is what I was attracted to, not necessarily the composition or the subject matter. Color and design are the two areas that I love to experiment with in my paintings. When I was 12 years old, I won my first art competition while I was living in Paris, France. As a military dependent, I was able to travel to many cities where art was presented. I lived in Japan, Germany, and France where color and patterns were my inspirations.

How do you think of colors or choose colors when you are painting?
Color plays a significant role in my paintings, from my abstracts to still life paintings, I bring vibrant colors into my art. Color is the focus and what most people identify with in my artwork. I love to use bright colors to begin my paintings, like aquamarine, magenta, and orange. These are some of my favorite combinations and while I believe all colors work together, I do favor this color palette.

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