Roberta Ahrens’ career as a Fine Artist began 37 years ago when she arrived in San Francisco and immediately leaped into the world of creative decorative painting and finishing. She began her career with commissions for work in high-end, corporate locations such as the Westin St. Francis Hotel, Fairmont Hotel San Jose, Harry Denton’s and major design work South of Market at Club DV8.
In 2005, Roberta began to develop her unique style of Fine Art painting. She works on personally handmade cracked linen canvases, seeking universal themes of beauty, nature, and peace in and through the world. Her life-long love of horticulture brought her to focus on botanical subjects, diving into what she calls the architecture of nature. Roberta paints primarily in acrylics and watercolors and then carves the pieces, etching lines into the plaster. Through these works, she seeks to call attention to the beauty inherent in the natural world.
Recently Roberta has become intrigued by the forms and structures that manifest themselves in bodies of water. Using her same cracked linen materials, her most recent work is an exploration of these forms and expresses a feeling of elemental power. The movement of nature, of creation pushing forward, is empowering in a way, and at a time, when such an expression of natural elemental power is both a personal and a cultural imperative.
Contemporary Fine Art Botanicals Series
Working in a large format, I focus on structure and balance in nature, channeling the
spirit and power of the botanical world and of the divine feminine. The flowers burst
forth with energy and strength, mirroring the internal strength of women, capturing
the full glory to inspire and empower the feminine spirit in the viewer. Seeking
universal themes of beauty, nature, and peace, the works, on handmade cracked linen
canvases, speak to us to encourage the viewer’s spirit to blossom and the true self to
Cracked Linen & Fiber / Water Series
My most recent work is an exploration. I started by pushing my most familiar materials
of clay base plaster, applied to fabric, to the limit. What I found, working large scale,
was the form in its simplicity, expresses a feeling of elemental power. Standing before it
evokes that feeling. There is a sense of movement. The form in its simplicity feels like
nature. And the movement of nature, of creation pushing forward, is empowering.
Rising up requires power.
I stretch fabric, linen, muslin, canvas, or burlap depending on the outcome of the piece I
want, then embed several layers of a clay based plaster mix into the fibers of the fabric.
Each layer builds thickness for the desired end effect. Each piece is purposely manipulated
to achieve the correct effect. I then transfer the chosen floral subject buy sketching a basic
outline of the subject. I apply soft washes to start to build the colors with watercolors and
acrylics the final details are engraved buy carving with a Dremel tool.
Most of my finished works are then applied to a wooden box frame or premade canvas,
then varnished with several layers of UV protective varnish. Some pieces are finished to
hang like tapestries buy mounting a gusset at the top of the peace allowing the insertion
of a rod as a means for hanging. I have used traditional and nontraditional ways of framing.
Artist; Roberta Ahrens (American, born 1962)