An Interview with Filomena Booth - Artists of Texas
ALL THAT ECHOES
How old were you when you realized you were an “artist”?
I remember my first grade teacher asking the class to draw the model, another first grader, in stick figure form. Not knowing what a stick figure was or why she would want us to draw something that didn't look like the "real" thing, I proceeded to draw the girl as realistically as I could, right down to the polka dots on her dress. When the teacher saw my "masterpiece", she reprimanded me for not following instructions and ordered me to start all over again. Of course, this involved erasing that fuzzy manila paper that was popular back in the '50s. I think this might have been my first experience in thinking creatively.
Who or what inspired you as you to make art in the beginning?
I've always enjoyed making things from "scratch", whether it be sewing, cooking or creating art for my home. I come from a family that had to make do without some luxuries but who always found ways to make something from what they had. My mom and dad inspired and encouraged me to pursue my dreams.
What is your background in art?
I "fell" into art almost by accident...but I don't believe in "accidents". When I was in high school, I wanted to be a Spanish teacher but ended up enrolling in the art department of a teaching college in New Jersey. I enjoyed teaching art for seven years at a high school before taking several years off to raise our three sons.
FOREST FOR THE TREES
In 1986, we moved to Florida and I got involved in creating custom art for interior designers in the area. My artwork ended up in model homes, hotels, corporations and yachts throughout the state.
In 2002, I discovered that many artists were beginning to sell their art online directly to buyers.. The idea of being able to market my work without depending on someone else to do it for me, fascinated me. The internet has enabled me to take my art to the world and to "meet" many wonderful artists..
What role do you feel an artist has in society?
The artist teaches society to "see" things in new ways that inspire and challenge its view of the world.
Do you have a vision or a reason for the art you create?
As an abstract artist, I rarely start my paintings with a preconceived notion in mind. I paint intuitively and let the painting emerge from the canvas. I like to create art that is pleasant to look at and that invites the viewer to visually explore and discover meaning in the work.
What part of you do you see in your artwork?
Someone who desires to share a sense of peace and joy through her work.
How do you know when your art if complete or finished?
I like to work in one long session rather that struggle with a painting over several days. I can usually tell when there is nothing more that needs to be done. At that point, I step away and study the work for a while, turning the canvas in different directions to find where it "feels" balanced and "comfortable". That's when I know that it is finished. If it doesn't "feel" right, I have no problem covering the whole thing with a fresh coat of gesso and starting all over again.
Today, who has had the greatest influence on your work?
I can't really say who has the greatest influence in my work, but with the advent of the internet, there are many contemporary artists whose work I admire, especially those artists who paint intuitively, guided only but the "gut" feeling that reveals the soul of their work.
Name three artists you would like to be compared to.
I like to think of myself as unique.
What is your artistic medium of choice? Why?
Acrylic paints are my absolute favorite. Fast drying times, the ability to experiment with a variety of techniques and easy clean up are just a some of the reasons why I love acrylics.
Whose work do you relate to most? Who inspire you?
This is a very hard question to answer. I am inspired by the work of the great masters as well as many contemporary artists whose names are not well known. I am attracted to works with strong composition and great use of color.
What food, drink or song inspires you or gets your creative juices flowing?
I can't think of any specific food or song that gets creative juices flowing, but a nice glass of wine helps to loosen things up!
Has your art evolved or changed in the past ten years? If so, how?
What are your strengths and weakness?
Any artist working for any length of time evolves over the years...or at least should evolve. Each new painting is a brand new experience built on the experiences of previous works. I find that I take more chances with my work than I did ten years ago. As far as weakness goes, I guess it would be that I tend to be impulsive and want quick results. Rather than struggle for a long time with a work, I prefer to start fresh.
Do you have a favorite piece of art? (Please include image for the article.)
My favorite painting is "Joan of Arc" by Jules Bastien-Lepage painted in 1879. The first time I saw this painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, I was moved to tears. I cannot imagine how the artist was able to capture the expression on Joan's face at the moment of her vision.
JOAN OF ARC
Do you find the artistic Life lonely? How do you counteract the solitude?
No, I don't find my life lonely at all. I enjoy working alone in my studio, listening to music and getting into the "zone". Communicating with other artists through social media and marketing my work online helps me feel like I belong to a family of other artists.
If you could picture yourself 5 or 10 years from now, where would you be and what would you be doing?
Hopefully I'll be doing the same things that I am doing now, but possibly in a studio in Florida that is closer to my family.
What is the best piece of advice you could give to an artist just getting started?
Just do it!
Getting to know you Q&A
How long have you lived in Texas?
We moved from Clearwater, FLto Keller, TX 10 years ago because of my husband's work.
Where in Texas do you live now?
In 2005 we moved to China Spring, a rural area northwest of Waco.
What is your favorite restaurant in Texas?
Carrabas has always been my favorite, but they don't have one anywhere near Waco.
What color is your bedroom?
A soft sage green.
What book are you reading this week?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
Do you have a favorite television show or movie?
I love old Seinfeld reruns. I still laugh out loud even though I've seen the episodes several times.
What is your favorite color? What color do you avoid?
I like warm colors, usually in the red family. There is no color I avoid.
What are you most proud of in your life?
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
When I asked the nurse at my doctor's office when she was expecting the baby...she wasn't pregnant.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I've had a wide variety of jobs...everything from high school art teacher to clerk at JCPenney to administrative assistant at an investment firm.
Do you have a passion or hobby other than painting? What is it?
I enjoy crocheting prayer shawls for cancer patients.
Who would you love to portray in Mixed Media or in paint?
As a non-objective artist, I can't imagine who I could possibly portray in my work.
If you were stranded on the Texas Prairie and could only take three things, what would they be?
Water, a GPS and a phone.
If you could live anywhere in Texas, where would you live?
Right here in China Spring.
Share something with us that few people know about you.
I was born in Portugal and did not speak English when I started school.
Name something you love and why.
Of course, I love my family for all the obvious reasons but I also love my three feline studio assistants. They keep me from spending all day in the studio by reminding me when it's feeding time.
Describe yourself in one word.
What is the one thing you would like to be remembered for?
For being a good person who tried to do the best she could.