When we visited visual artist Ceelee Simpson at her studio recently, her playlist titled ‘Listen to What Your Heart Is Saying” was playing in the background. During the visit, layered under our conversation were melodies of country music, jazz, classic rock, 70’s love songs, and even a James Blunt song weaved in and out.
Ceelee has a singular theme in her art: LOVE. Like many artists before her, the universal experience of love serves as her muse. Love in all of its layered glory. Her work is remarkably bright and cheery, as is her perception of love. That isn’t to say she is naive to the trappings or dark underside of amore. She simply chooses to represent the joyful, uplifting, and exciting experience that comes along with it—most of the time. Once in a while, when the struggle of this peculiar emotion presents itself, and that is what she paints.
“When I’m painting, I experience these emotions...and that comes out on the canvas.” Ceelee says. “Usually, these are the universal experiences most people feel. Once in a while, I experience something unique to me. I don’t sell those paintings. Those stay with me.
Her paintings have titles like “You Are The Magnet, And I Am The Steel,” “I Got A Vibe The First Time I Saw You,” “Torn Between Two Lovers,” and “Sweet Life.”
“Even though I title my work, the person viewing it may think something else. That's fine.”
Ceelee came to Colorado in the mid-90s to attend a meditation retreat. Like many who visit the area, she loved it and relocated here within two months. Her previous career as a graphic artist in advertising and marketing informs her work today.
“All art is about balance, artistic concepts,” Ceelee said about the graphic elements in her work.
Ceelee's primary medium is oil paint and wax on canvas or paper. Her method of mixing wax with the oil before spreading on the canvas, instead of on top once the painting is complete, allows for a thicker application in which she can create straight, graphic-like lines. Next up for CeeLee is a series with a new medium, watercolor.
Learn more about the artist at CeeLeeSimpson.com.
In her home studio, every corner holds a source of inspiration, contained in an organized, chaotic way. Layers of colored pencils, a rubber duck collection, curios, art supplies, and paints.
The studio mirrors her artistic process: layers of paint, tape, brushes, putty knives, pastry scrapers, and stencils. Working on multiple pieces simultaneously, CeeLee moves from one to another as the layers of paint dry. Her work mirrors life's experiences, layers of joy, struggle, art, and unsurprisingly, love.