Carol Beth Rodriguez's colorful freeform style of painting brightens the walls of the Solana Beach City Hall Gallery this holiday season.
According to Rodriguez, her acrylic and mixed media paintings are influenced by such abstract expressionists as Willem de Kooning, Cy Twombly and Wassily Kandinsky.
"I'm drawn to lots of artists who aren't very representational," she said.
Rodriguez, a painter for 25 years and member of the new Solana Beach Art Association, studied interior design at San Diego State University before taking the sculpture class that inspired her to change her major to art.
"I loved the freedom of expression that I experienced with that class and took everything they had to offer, including painting, printmaking and enameling," she said. "I enjoyed the freedom of not having to use the T-square, ruler and quarter-inch tools of interior design."
After graduation, Rodriguez did a lot of networking before galleries in Beverly Hills and Laguna Beach accepted her work, and she still finds it essential to make time to promote her paintings.
"When I went to college, schools weren't teaching students how to market like they do now, and the Solana Beach Art Association is all about networking," she said. "The Internet is also wonderful because I get my work shown all over the world."
While the environment makes a great impression on her work, Rodriguez said she never works by looking at photographs.
"I'm constantly taking mental notes and sketching wherever I go, then I bring it all back to my studio to work with color, shape and form," she said. "The light and the colors of this area inspire me; they are so rich and vivid."
For Rodriguez, creating a work of art is an intuitive process.
"I start working, choose my colors and lay down my work," she said." I like it to have a certain movement and flow and I have to be able to say that I like it when it's done in order to stop."
Rodriguez said that she likes to create paintings that challenge the viewer.
"I want there to be a layer and a depth to it and a quality that makes the viewer want to see more," she said. "I don't like paintings that I can just look at and say, 'OK, I get it.'"
Rodriguez prefers painting on large canvases. Her works in the show measure 4-by-5 feet.
Rodriguez works out of her backyard studio in Solana Beach and tries to paint every day.
"I have so many ideas, but I never have enough time," she said. "The hardest thing is finding the time to get it all down."
Rodriguez's paintings will remain on display until Jan. 15 at The Solana Beach City Hall Gallery located at 635 S. Highway 101. View more of her work at