Charmaine Surls


Founding Artist


The connection with nature can revive the soul, and the mixture of art and nature is a powerful agent for insight and growth. In my twenty years of living and working on the property with my life partner, James Surls, and our family, there were many opportunities for those moments to occur. Splendora Gardens exists to provide this type of experience to visitors as well as viewers and makers of art in all forms: visual and performing arts, music, poetry, and conceptual.


From my background in psychology comes an interest in portraying human behavior and motivations in a visual format, translated through an art lens so that you can read my sense of human life through visual symbols.


The artist uses accepted tools and formats for speaking (visually) about their perceptions and interpretations of life around them. The world goes through their lens, their eyes, and their psyches and then via the mediums they choose to express this perception, we see a unique vision of the environment that we all take for granted. Artists are generally given credit for re-awakening us to our surroundings, giving us a fresh look at everyday people and places, objects and events.


Sculpture, 3 dimensional representations of humans and habitats, and architecture, I’ve found is a great vehicle to express my perceptions.


I try to use materials not typically used in traditional sculptures, such as the   painted hydrastone (crushed limestone) figures, figures draped in painted canvas or wrapped in treated burlap or waxed cloth, to correspond with the new world we inhabit, that have some of the associations of the old traditions, but with a new twist. The human figure itself draws people in because we’re implicitly drawn to representations of ourselves.


I use the innate human associations of color to imply, give hints to, some parts of the message I wish to impart. The shapes and gestures of the figures suggest another part of the message along with the titles. So art could be seen as a riddle or puzzle to figure out with clues given on the way.  The same holds true for the new 2-dimensional drawings/paintings produced in 2005.


I’ve used some non-traditional materials to evoke associations that lead the viewer to grasp the message in the artwork.


The other equally important component of viewing art is the psyche of the viewer. The artist has an idea they are conveying that will be interpreted in different lights depending on the psychological landscape of the person “reading” the artist’s creation.