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Donna Marie Pritchard-Artist in Constant Motion
Wednesday, March 29, 2017


When the muse strikes, Donna Marie Pritchard puts on some Latino music and grabs a fist full of paintbrushes and fingertip spray bottles.

Then she swirls and twirls, swaying to the beat as she holds a canvas in her hands letting the paint run across it.

When she’s finished she’s looking at something that speaks of a life in constant motion, a painting that takes viewers to the “Outer Limits” or to a “Kundalini Awakening.”

“I do energy work, and I’m a belly dancer—all swirling stuff,” said Pritchard. “When I paint, I feel as I do when I dance with veils—the colors swirl and spiral around me. At the same time, when I’m working it’s like being inside a tornado, like being in the center where it’s very calm.”

Zenergy Spa has been displaying much of Pritchard’s work in an exhibition curated by Robin Reiners, former owner of Gallery DeNovo in Ketchum. And Zenergy will hold an Art Exhibit focusing of 14 of those pieces—a cross-section of Pritchard’s work--from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Thursday, March 30, at Zenergy Spa. Libations will be served.

Pritchard was not one of those who felt called to be an artist from the time she was a toddler growing up in Kingston, Tenn. For many years, her creative side was rooted in painting walls and floors of the homes she sold as a real estate agent.

She didn’t start painting fine art until 2010 after moving to Ketchum to pursue her creative side in a mountain town.

“My sister, who is a collected artist, put three canvases in front of me and said, ‘See what happens.’ I thought I’d put some paint on a canvas and then give the canvases back to her. But I found something in me,” said Pritchard.

In particular, Pritchard found her “Kundalini Awakening,” a 50-by-40-inch testament to the creative  force that was released within her when she stopped meticulously working towards a desired outcome and allowed inspiration to lead.

“It just happened,” she said. “I was trying to paint the colors of chakras. And I had been working on it for three days outside when it started to rain. There was something about the rain hitting the tin roof on my studio that made me let go. I got a cup of water and began pouring water over the canvas. And the paints just started running down the canvas. I gave up what I was going for to just let it happen and realized that I had just created this messy, wonderful piece of art.”

A poet, Pritchard often writes poems on canvas before covering parts or all of them in acrylic paint.

“Nowhere on earth does there exist a place more expansive than my own heart…” she wrote on one.

“If you can wander inside my mind, would you run for cover or would you chase the seagulls to the edges?” asks the poem in her painting, “Chasing Seagulls,” one of the paintings in her “Graffiti Series.”

“I laugh at the sunrise and it laughs back at me.”

“The feeling of the poem evokes what’s not said. The alliteration and rhymes of poems can only infer so much. You have to go between the lines,” she said.

Pritchard’s “Outer Limits” series was inspired by a weekend camping off-grid when she was consumed by a million zillion stars splashed across the sky.

“My ‘Campsite’ painting looks like one universe after another exploding.  Some of the works in my ‘Outer Limits’ series evoke being out in the universe looking back at our planet. They can also evoke the idea of looking into the cellular explosion in our body,” she said.

More down to earth is her “Musica!” series inspired by her love of Latin music nurtured by a year in Puerto Vallarta.

She played “The Girl from Ipanema” over and over one night, immersing herself in the music and swaying to the beat for hours as “the night of Ipanema” gave way to a painting she calls “If I Lived in Brazil.” And that gave way to additional paintings with titles like “Musica de la Calle,” “Baila Conmigo (Dance with Me).” “Amor Eterno (Eternal Love)” and “After Midnight (Make Time to Love).”

“ ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ is my favorite song of all time. It transports me to those wonderful memories of people staying up all night dancing and drinking coffee, the cobblestone streets, the peeling paint, the roosters crowing, the passionate lovers. It was all very chaotic and noisy but I felt centered in it,” Pritchard said.

A sign above Pritchard’s studio in her home in the heart of Ketchum states adamantly “Artist at Play.” And, perhaps, none of her series illustrate that better than her “Drizzle & Splash” series. Its genesis lay in her childhood when she mixed juices with milk and other leftovers, watching the colors move and blend together.

For that series, she brushes, pours, drips or sprays dozens of layers of acrylic paint on canvas. Then she picks up the canvas and holds it at different angles letting the paint run where it may. Occasionally, she will wipe a corner here and there to get a desired effect.

“When I achieve the look I like, I lay it flat to dry,” she said.

In her “Just for Fun” series she dripped white paint over a canvas layered with blues and greens to create the look of a mountain sporting its first snow of winter. Her “XO’s Series” was inspired by the symbols for hugs and kisses her friends use on Facebook. “Soles y Lunas” captures the suns and moons of Mexico. And “Gatos and Perros”? Those would be the often cartoonish pieces friends and acquaintances commission of their pets.

Pritchard is a firm believer that everyone should try their hand at creating. When one women confided she was afraid to try painting because she was afraid she would make a mess, Pritchard didn’t hesitate:

“I said, ‘Empty one of your bedrooms, put a tarp on the floor and make a mess!’ ” she said. “I meet so many people who are afraid to try something because they don’t know how. For me art is all about giving myself, giving others, permission to explore.”

In addition to the open house at Zenergy, you can see Pritchard’s work at

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