Talk of the Town - Little Paradise June 22 2005

Inside Cecile Broz's studio and home in Pine Lake

After years of schooling and working as an art teacher in the Midwest, Cecile Broz decided to further explore her artistic identity. Attracted by its rich flora, she chose Atlanta as her home and inspirational conclave. Working here since 1989, Broz has developed a name for herself in the city's professional art circles. Often described as whimsical, her paintings can be viewed in area galleries such as Carisma in downtown Buford, or purchased directly from the artist at local craft and art shows.

While away from the marketing and sales front, Broz spends long hours creating the paintings at her residence in Pine Lake. She and her partner refer to their home as "little paradise." Cluttered with art supplies, the basement epitomizes a mind overflowing with innovation and ideas. Upstairs is a lounging shrine: cats snoozing on sofas beneath oil paintings and fish gliding through the blue of aquarium waters. These two milieus are connected with a round patio and a bountiful yard speckled with stepping-stones and garden gnomes. Broz often finds inspiration in her garden while accompanied by her two dogs. This is where her obsession with color and pattern gets triggered.

Creative Loafing: How would you describe your work?

Broz: I'd say it's very expressive, whimsical, contemporary. I like to work with color and texture. I like flat shapes.

You seem to exploit every opportunity to use a range of bold colors in each of your paintings.

I remember in grad school sometimes I would want to make a black and white graphic. And I would try it. Then, I thought, "It looks very good in black and white, but I'll just add one color." And then, "Just one more color." And pretty soon, the work was full of color again. It's just something I can't resist.

I noticed you frequently paint cheerful motifs such as hearts and birds.

I think that's the whimsical aspect that is there to make people feel good. Sometimes, when I had high-stress jobs, I'd come home and I wanted something peaceful and relaxing. I think in my younger days my work was more cutting-edge, dramatic and controversial. Now I am at a different place.

You said your paintings tell stories.

I remember one time I had a consultation with some friends where we all sat together on the bed. We were talking; it was just a really nice moment. And then later when I was painting - I didn't do it intentionally - I drew these three figures lounging. My experiences just keep popping up in my work.

Are there any new trends or styles you are getting ready to explore?

I am going to start some aqua-color pieces: light aquas and chocolate browns. It may be more whimsical pieces. I am not sure yet how an abstract would look like with those colors.