Artist Maxine Price carves her way into the spotlight using a special tool; instead of a brush, she paints with a palette knife and describes her intent as a way to create textures otherwise unattainable by using a brush. No longer satisfied with what she calls “flat painting,” the knife allows her to attain an element of experimentation with each stroke.

“Inspiration comes from many sources including old walls, signs, rocks, dilapidated buildings and rustic items. I am fascinated with the accidental beauty found in debris,” Price said. If she has to put a label to define her work, she describes it as “abstract expressionism.” “I paint in oils with a palette knife on gallery wrapped canvas. I am a layerist and a colorist. I apply thin, under layers of paint, and the paint gets progressively heavier and more textured as more paint is applied. I paint wet into wet so that some of the under layers are left to show through as well as mix with the wet paint applied on top,” she says.Price admits it requires a delicate touch and knowledge of what one color will do when mixed with the colors underneath. “I liken the way I paint to putting white icing on top of a chocolate cake. I often do some mark-making by scratching into the wet surface,” Price said.

Price was born into a military family, which had them on the move quite a bit, and the majority of the time her father was deployed overseas was spent with her family close to her grandparent’s in Devine, just outside San Antonio. Some of her earliest memories of drawing are from a kindergarten classroom when her teacher highlighted her work on the class bulletin board. Drawing and writing letters helped her close the distance while away from family and friends as she moved through numerous schools. “I graduated from high school in Fairfax, Va., and my dad told me I could go to college anywhere I wanted as long as it was in Texas. I picked the University of Texas out of a catalog and received my BFA from UT Austin. I lived in Austin until moving to Wimberley about 16 years ago,” Price said. Painting portraits was a particular specialty, and with her drawing experience, combined with four years of life drawing in college, she became knowledgeable about anatomy and was adept at getting a good likeness in a portrait.

About 20 years ago, her work took a new turn. “In 1992, I decided to go on a journey and paint more from my imagination. I took many workshops and experimented with a lot of different mediums with the goal of developing a style and method of painting that was not like anyone else's. When I began experimenting with oils and the palette knife, I knew I had found what I had been searching for,” she said. “I have been working with that medium pretty much exclusively for about 15 years and continue to see how far I can take the medium and method to achieve a new idea.”

Her oil portraits hang on the walls of several university campuses, including the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M in College Station and St. Mary's Law School in San Antonio. Locally, you can find her work on display in Johnson City at Taste, Wine and Art at the Kirchman Gallery, which has been there since last fall. “I am so impressed with Susan Kirchman and Warren Vilmaire,” Price said. “They have a great selection of artists and I admire their business sense. Susan is a very talented photographer and fine artist herself, and I am very pleased to exhibit my work at Kirchman Gallery.”

By Brenda Young

Highland Lakes Newspapers