Collage of Cameron Farley and her work

If you are anything like me, although you cannot create a masterpiece gripping a pallet and brush, you love and appreciate the work of a true artist. We love art because it speaks to us, it speaks about us: it speaks of our lives, our hopes, and brings to light our very imaginings. Cameron Farley calls her work “a visual journal of her life”. Perhaps this is the reason her work draws us in: we recognize our life experiences through hers. Her journal is our journal without the need to write a single word.Artist Cameron Farley's work at McMillen's

Hailing from Illinois, Cameron’s credentials are both impressive and enviable. Graduation from MSU was aptly followed by the founding of a corporate art service and retail art gallery in the suburbs of Chicago. But this was not the final page in Farley’s dynamic journal. Thus, in 1990, the successful Farley traded her life in the “burbs” for an adventure here in Traverse City, the perfect place to raise a family. She was even able to sneak in some additional art classes at NMC. But Cameron’s burning thirst for continued training could not be quenched so easily.

Paris, France, long considered the heartbeat of the oil painting world, offered the perfect venue. The picturesque Studio Escalier in Argenton-Chateau offered classes in drawing and painting under the capable tutelage of Timothy Stolz and N. Michelle Tully, solidifying her work in the tradition of classical realism. Hungry for more, Cameron continued training through workshops with the likes of Thomas Buechner, Kim Engish, Karin Jurick and Carol Marine. One easily sees their influence in her paintings. More importantly perhaps, one feels the influences life alone can deliver; and in the end, her artistic expressions reveal visions from our personal journals as much as from hers.

Fortunately, we need not visit Paris or art studios on distant shores as we can visit Cameron’s website, or we can simply stop by McMillen’s Creative Custom Framing in downtown TC where I have been a happy customer for over 20 years. Herein, many of her works are currently on display and we have opportunity to connect with colors and movement that incite memory, honesty, and ultimately, all that makes life beautiful: childhood, loved ones, nature, fullness. Each canvas is a bold, unpretentious reminder. Each is a valued paragraph in our journal. Each is at once personal and universal.

I write this as I allow the paint to dry on my bedroom wall. It’s as close to a painted masterpiece as I will ever complete and it requires a second coat. At the same time, I imagine one of Cameron’s paintings, comfortably situated over the headboard. It is a visual reminder of two young girls, childhood friends or sisters perhaps, jumping together from a pier into awaiting waters. It is lifted directly from page 1960 of my journal.

– Written by: Lin Opgenorth