Salvo artist Angel Fritz sees art as a spiritual endeavor.

“For me, art is how I connect to love, God, source, divinity,” Fritz says. “It’s embodied into the art.”

To achieve this, she creates mixed media paintings that combine visual elements with intuitive parts of the spirit, that come through during a meditative creative process. Visitors will view abstract and geometric paintings formed using combinations of acrylic paint, metal leaf and resin. A selection of these works are on display at the Dare County Arts Council through May 31.

Quieting the mind while painting, Fritz says, allows the inner self or soul to lead the way resulting in layers of trust, exploration, play, curiosity and devotion flowing onto the canvas along with her favored sunset and sea colors, shapes, washes, and designs.

Some works are complex resembling a mix of spirograph images with a mandala feel. Others are more abstract, distilling down elements of a sunset to washes of color. In the latter, it’s more about feeling like a sunset than being a realistic rendition of one. Fritz also has large canvases with geometric shapes, some angular, others more flowing. Overall, the body of work emits a sense of tranquility, both visually and emotionally.

Fusion is a perfect descriptive that Fritz uses when describing her art and creative process. To fuel this process, she nurtures her spiritual life daily so that what comes out when she paints is clear, joyful, and serene. In the end, it is her goal for her true self to be her gift to the viewer.

The 52-year-old artist started painting in 2000, after leaving a job in the corporate world. She went from running a competition cheerleading gym to answering the creative call. While being successful at the job, it became too competitive, says Fritz.

“It wasn’t in line with me anymore, she says. “The business side sucked the life out of me. I started focusing on self — spiritual growth development.” As a result of letting go of her former life, she rediscovered art. “I knew I was an artist but didn’t know what medium,” she says. So, she headed for an art supply store and allowed intuition to lead her.

She recalls, “It was like, ‘Oh, my God.' I was in heaven."

She ended up gravitating toward acrylic paints and canvas. That very night she started sketching and painting, all the while paying attention to how she felt. She created an image of an angel. Feeling positive while painting meant she was on the right track.

At first, Fritz painted flowing figurative work. She segued into more design-oriented sunsets that evolved into the abstracted sunsets. She used a variety of mediums throughout the process including metal leaf and interference paint that reflects a different color as the light captures the canvas and changes in the room over time. The copper and gold metal leaf come in paper-thin sheets of adhesive that can be cut into any shape she desires, such as a setting sun. Lately, with the more abstract sunsets and nature-related scenes, she works in layers, laying down washes of color, adding a layer of clear resin, adding in more design elements and another layer of resin, and continuing this course until she is satisfied, and the work achieves a sense of depth. The result is work that radiates. These pieces mirror the artist who emits love for her life, humanity, and her profession.

“Joy, the serenity, the bliss — those feeling states are really deep within us and access to them is really hard,” says Fritz. “The more I work on myself, the more I clear. And layer upon layer upon layer the painting starts appearing on the canvas. It’s not from me. It’s a co-creation of spirit and self.

Mary Ellen Riddle has been writing the Coast’s art column for more than 20 years and brings to her work a BFA in painting from East Carolina University and a profound passion for the role the arts play in society.

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