For more than 20 years, they’ve been members of the Jerome Artists Cooperative. They’re also friends and neighbors residing on the same street in Cottonwood. But perhaps the connection that truly binds Michele Cokl Naylor and Birgitta Lapides is a shared passion for color. So it’s only natural the two artists have joined forces to create a post-pandemic show called “The Color of Dreams.”
Bold yet soothing, intense yet uplifting, “The Color of Dreams” opens at the Jerome Artists Cooperative on July 30. After a long stressful year, this feels like the show we need right now, created by strong independent women artists.
“The Color of Dreams” is a celebration — a vibrant blending of mood and atmosphere. Suddenly, it feels good to be hopeful again. It feels good to dream. Naylor and Lapides light the way with each canvas forming a personal connection with viewers. The show serves as a reminder that dreams should be fearless, vivid and inspiring.
Naylor, who is also known for her quirky line of greeting cards, specializes in mixed media abstracts for this show. She works with acrylic paints and also uses colored pencil, pastel sticks, charcoal, ink, paper, fabric, and photo transfer. She often prefers to create on small canvases. Many of her paintings are 6” x 10,” 8” x 8” and 4” x 12.” She likes the challenge involved in creating entire worlds in a limited space. It also makes her dreamlike work affordable and easy to place in home or office.
“Strong colors draw the attention, but I also include plenty of details to hold a viewer’s interest. I add texture to give your eye something to dance around on,” says Naylor. “When someone hangs my art on their wall, I want them to be able to enjoy it on a daily basis, to always feel like the more they look at it, the more they will discover.”
Lapides draws inspiration from the colors of the world. Born in Sweden, she’s lived in Belgium, the south of France, New York City, the green hills of Vermont, and finally Arizona. Each location has expanded her palette. She has studied art at esteemed institutions and worked as a full-time artist for decades creating highly sought after hand-woven garments. For this show Lapides uses hand painted papers to create a richness and depth in her Arizona-inspired collage paintings. She also does ink paintings and a few watercolors.
“I’m an intuitive painter. I don’t work from photos or sketches, this is just how I see and feel our beautiful Arizona landscape,” says Lapides. “I like to work small in this format and want the art to provoke a reaction in others just like it does in me. That’s what color can do. I have a need for strong colors as elemental as a need for food.”
In addition to the array of eye-catching paintings lining the gallery walls, the show will include some splashy jewelry. Look for hand-painted earrings created by Lapides and framed abstract art pins by Naylor.
“The Color of Dreams” will run from July 30 through October 26. It can be viewed at the Jerome Artists Cooperative during regular operating hours.
The Jerome Co-op has been an anchor of the Verde Valley art scene since it opened in 1996. More than two-dozen local artists display their work and also operate the business, with each member handling shifts and serving on various committees. The multi-room gallery features a wide range of mediums from handcrafted and fine art, including jewelry, photography, painting, ceramics, glass, wood, and clothing.
The Jerome Artists Cooperative is located at 502 Main Street in downtown Jerome. For more information, call 928-639-4276, or visit www.jeromecoop.com.
To learn more about the individual artists, visit www.michelecoklnaylor.com or www.birgittalapides.com.