June 01, 2020
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‘Let go of the fear and just create’: Orono artist paints 100 paintings in 100 days

In Shalece Fiack’s father’s studio in Phoenix, Arizona, a quote hangs on the wall.

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done,” it says. “Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

Andy Warhol said that. Fiack just learned how to live by it.

Shalece Fiack challenged herself to paint 100 paintings in 100 days. She began on Oct. 21 and achieved her goal on Jan. 29, but for the stay-at-home mom living in Orono, art only recently came back into focus.

John Horejs, Fiack’s father and a professional artist for over 30 years, came to visit the Fiacks in Maine for two weeks. While there, he did what he has done for his entire life: painted.

“He said, ‘I really want to work on some little pieces. While I’m here, why don’t we get some supplies and experiment?’”

Fiack decided to pick up a brush and join him.

That experimentation didn’t end when he left; in fact, Fiack hasn’t stopped painting since.

“He left here, and I just could not leave the studio,” she said.

“I’ve created a monster,” Horejs joked, according to Fiack.

Fiack has always been artistic. She has dabbled in pastels and oils and worked with pen-and-ink drawings as her three daughters have grown. She has no “formal” training, but growing up with an artistic father left its mark.

“Twenty years of watching my dad paint every day was my training,” Fiack said.

When Fiack challenged herself to paint 100 paintings in 100 days, she had that Andy Warhol quote in mind — a phrase that inspires her.

She hadn’t touched acrylics until her father introduced her to them but decided to work within that medium, creating abstract and impressionistic pieces that mix color to create art filled with movement. In addition she painted floral pieces and seascapes depicting local scenes, such as Sand Beach, which is featured in “Soliloquy,” her 100th painting.

“It’s definitely evolved over the hundred days. It’s just gotten me into the habit of working every day on my art,” Fiack said.

And even though her father had gone back to Arizona, Fiack spoke with him almost every day about the pieces she created as part of the challenge.

“I would send my dad photos and have him critique my work,” Fiack said. “He would say, ‘No, don’t change it. Keep that one that you have and then move on and use that technique in the next one so you’re learning from it, not covering it up.’”

Fiack treats each of her pieces as a learning tool, but painting has brought her more than just the works of art that are scattered throughout her home.

“I started with Hobby Lobby canvases, and now I’m building and stretching my own. As the daughter of an artist, that’s what I did as a teenager to make money — I built my dad’s canvases.”

She has been reacquainted with an old friend, in a way, and as she continues to paint, her relationship with her father, who inspired her to begin, has blossomed.

“I’m able to relate to my dad in a way that I hadn’t been before,” Fiack said. “I never understood why he never wanted to leave the house until I started painting. … It’s been fun to work with him and gain from his knowledge. Who could have a better mentor than that?”

But her journey hasn’t ended yet. She continues to paint. Completed works of art sit throughout her home, waiting for new owners to scoop them up.

As she has taken to social media to share her work, she has found other artists challenging themselves to do the same thing: create. She has watched her own friends find the inspiration to rekindle their creativity, and she has been inspired by her own daughters, who are artistic themselves.

“I take a lot of inspiration from my youngest child. She approaches everything with no fear. She just picks up color and creates,” Fiack said.

“I think about that when I’m approaching my canvas: I want to be free and fearless when I paint,” she said.

Now that Andy Warhol quote in her father’s studio hangs in her own home as well. She uses it as a reminder to keep on painting.

“Let go of the fear and just create,” she said.

An artist’s reception will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at the Rock and Art Shop at 36 Central St. in Bangor. A selection of Fiack’s 100 paintings will be on display at the Rock and Art Shop from Feb. 29 to March 14.

 


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