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Artist’s inspiration flows from the power of water

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By Sara Miller

The floodwaters in Evergreen have receded, and community members are pulling together to support one another. Janice Sugg, the featured artist at Evergreen Fine Art, and gallery owner Barb Hadley had no way of knowing that the title of Sugg’s show would be so prophetic.

“The show’s original opening was scheduled for the weekend of the flooding,” Hadley says. “As the waters were rushing into Evergreen and Longmont, we truly felt like we were in over our heads.”
Sugg is a Longmont-based oil painter whose show “In Over Our Heads” features a series of contemplative new paintings that explore the contrasts and tensions created between the identifiable, “real” world of water in the natural landscape and a decidedly abstract version of water, reducing it to its elemental form.
Sugg grew up in Colorado and spent her childhood fishing with her parents near Chatfield Dam. For 13 years, she and her husband made their home next to Left Hand Creek above Boulder. She attended the one-room school house in Jamestown.
“The area that was so badly destroyed is where I raised my kids,” Sugg says. “It’s devastating to see the damage there. I’ve always been fascinated by the movement and power of  water and how it translates to art. This flooding speaks to the power of water in our real lives.”
“In Over Our Heads” explores the colors, movement and power of water and how these translate to abstract artwork. Sugg’s painting style builds imagery using layers. Her technique interweaves textures, blending color with subjective atmosphere. She paints using unpredictable palettes, a spectrum of color that often challenges well-worn clichés. The resulting layers are successively wiped and refined, revealing a composite of underlying design, the result of colorful swaths of braided paint unfolding and enfolding the values within her palette.
“Over the years, my work has become more non-representational. I begin with an idea of the colors that I want to use. Then I close my eyes, and … those images that come out are from a subconscious level. It’s a bit like reaching into virgin territory and dancing around in that space,” says Sugg.
For “In Over Our Heads,” Sugg created 15 new pieces that will hang at Evergreen Fine Art through Oct. 12. Outside of Evergreen, Sugg’s work has been featured at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, the Weekend in the West Art Show and Sale, and the Colorado Governor’s Show.
The show’s opening reception will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. Sugg will attend the reception and give a gallery talk about the origin of the work and her artistic process. On Saturday, Oct. 5, Sugg will offer an in-gallery demonstration from 1 to 4 p.m. In keeping with Evergreen Fine Art’s commitment to giving back to the community, the gallery and Sugg have agreed that 5 percent of all sales at the artist reception will be donated to flood relief efforts in Longmont-Jamestown.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.

‘In Over Our Head, The Image of Water in Contemporary Art’
Artist: Janice Sugg
Artist reception and gallery talk: Friday, Oct. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m.
In-gallery demonstration: Saturday, Oct. 5, from 1 to 4 p.m.
The show will run through Oct. 12 at Evergreen Fine Art Gallery, 3042 Evergreen Parkway.
For more information, visit www.evergreenfineart.com or call 303-679-3610.