AU spoke with artist Cameron Bliss, 47, at the studio she shares with her husband – musician and Winterville, Georgia Mayor Dodd Ferrelle – bursting with instruments, recording equipment, paintings, along with her trusty dog Buoy. A lone easel displayed a work in progress. There was an extra-large white water barrel in sight which Bliss says she’s going to paint for the “Water People.” That’s something I’d like to see.
Cameron Bliss is an impressionistic painter, born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. She graduated from SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) in 1992. “My Mother and Grandmother both attended SCAD and did oil paintings,” she says. “My Grandmother was also a potter. Mom still paints.”
When did you start working with portraits?
I didn’t start painting portraits until a couple of years ago. I’d worked mostly in landscapes, but I decided I wanted to learn to do that. I think it was a new challenge for me to capture the expression…if you look into somebody’s eyes you can see into their soul…and I wanted to bring that out in a painting. With every painting I’m learning something. I have much more to explore. I don’t want to look back. It’s all a kind of internal statement. It’s art therapy, but you can’t say that, can you? (laughing).
Who are all of these women?
I work mostly from photographs and my imagination. Some are real people. I don’t have people sit. They’re all expressions of myself. It’s an internal statement of some kind. I think it’s more personal, more about my inner world.
Where does the viewer fit in?
That’s why I don’t have titles for many of my pieces. That would give the viewer an idea or suggestion of what I want them to think. Maybe she’s missing her long-lost love. Or her child. They’re all looking out windows, longingly.
How does a painting begin?
Sometimes they just start out with an expression. I don’t know where they come from…they form by themselves. I don’t know. You get a feeling if they’re working. I don’t know what they’re thinking. I might take somebody’s expression and put someone else’s head-tilt or their hair. I kind of make a composite of many different backgrounds: arms, gestures, poses, furniture, rooms. Sometimes I’ll be inspired by something and have a whole slew of pictures and then I’ll cut and paste-em and put them into one image. Veruka was made up. I think my friend Jim White came up with that. Veruka Salt grown up.
My Love Affair with Mexico, 20″ x 20″oil on canvas
I Wish We Could Go Back, 30″x 30″ oil on canvas
Tamara, 10″ x 10″ oil on canvas
Sophia, 10″ by 10″ oil on canvas
Evangeline Ling, 20″ x 20″ oil on canvas
Untitled, 40″ by x “30” oil on canvas