On Oct. 24, Traci Higginbotham had an art gallery opening in the Harcum Art Gallery at Wilmington College to display her collection of pieces titled “A Conversation with Color.”
Higginbotham has been making art since fourth grade; in the fourth grade, her teacher would hold drawing contests for the school lunch menus and hallway bulletin board designs. Her teacher sent a letter to her parents and suggested she be tested to enter into the Putnam County Gifted Art Program. Higginbotham entered the program in the 6th grade and attended half days on Friday afternoons. Her teacher was a well known West Virginia artist named Caryl Toth. She was an abstract expressionist artist and has had a tremendous influence on her style along with a friend of her’s, June Kilgore.
Higginbotham said, “When I begin painting, I often have a specific color composition in mind. However, as I continue on, I feel like the colors start talking to me. I may be working with a blue and green composition, but something keeps nagging at me to put a dot of pink in there. It might sound a little crazy, but I do feel like I communicate with the colors and therefore, the title was born.”
Higginbotham described herself as color-obsessed. She likes to paint on a large canvas because abstract art works best in large areas. She strives to create an emotional impact on the viewer. To prepare for this collection, she spent a lot of time photographing sunsets and color combinations. She also visited the art gallery for previous exhibits, so she knew her large pieces have room to breathe in the gallery.
“My favorite piece from the exhibit is ‘Standing Alone,’” Higginbotham said. “It is sort of a tribute to June Kilgore whose work has influenced me more than any other artist I have ever studied throughout art history classes. She, along with my teacher, always painted symbolic passages and doorways, and it was always about energy and space. There is a green arching line in the center of that painting that is symbolic of the rocks and passages of their paintings. It’s a small piece but holds a lot of who I am and why I paint the way I do.”
Higginbotham has room full of not-quite-finished pieces and is hoping to hang some of those in her gallery in Charleston, West Virginia for the holidays.
The collection will be on display until Dec. 7.