Upper Arlington jeweler Argo & Lehne is showcasing a new art exhibition by Columbus artist Elena Osterwalder

Upper Arlington jeweler Argo & Lehne is showcasing a new art exhibition by Columbus artist Elena Osterwalder. Until the end of September, you can find Osterwalder's Rojo exhibit, which features around a dozen canvases from the 71-year-old artist who is originally from Mexico. The pieces all contain the color red, and all are available for purchase. We had the chance to chat with Osterwalder to learn about her background as an artist and her inspiration for the collection. –Heather Weekley, @heather_weekley

How did you get your start in art?

I was born and raised in Mexico. When I was young, for Christmas my father would give me a big box of coloring pencils. I traveled a lot, and when I was in Argentina, I talked to a friend about my passion for art and she said, "Why don't you try it?" She was instrumental in taking me to my first class in Argentina. I've been hooked on it since then. I've been working in art for about 45 years. I came back to the States, and I joined Columbus College of Art & Design. I chose to work with oils, both on paper and canvas. For 30 years I did nothing but oils. Then I got breast cancer, and I did my last oil show, which was the Rojo show. All the colors are nothing by red, and it was done between 2004-2005. The owner of Argo & Lehne saw them last year in a show, and he's been after me to have the red paintings in his jewelry store. I decided, "Why not?"

How did you create the Rojo collection?

There is something very important about these paintings - it's not only that they are all red, but we are always trying to show depth in a painting. I wanted to use just one color, yet have different depths. The first color is transparent. The idea was to start the canvas with a totally different color than red. Some were blue, some were red and some were yellow. In between each layer of paint, when it dried, I would varnish it. That gives the separation of colors. When you put the new color on after, it does not mix. The paintings are separated through different layers of not only paint but color. The color becomes more red and more red until you think it's nothing but red. If you look at the canvas, you can see on the sides the original color.

Are you currently working on any projects?

Right now I am not allowed to use my left elbow because I broke it. I've started looking at different ways to use color. I went to Mexico and discovered pre-historic dyes. I have been doing work with hand-paper. I am doing research on handmade paper and the colors used for at least 1000 years in Mexico. I'd like to publish that. When I can move my arm again, I want to do something major that will include computers, sound, history, sculpture…everything.