Artist Spotlight: Erin Fitzpatrick

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Erin Fitzpatrick’s portraits are lush and full of color.  I LOVE everything about them – the colors, the patterns, the energy.  When looking in her subject’s soulful eyes it’s almost as if they are speaking directly to you.

Erin is a Baltimore native and graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art.  She started painting portraits in 2008 and has a significant body of work.  I am delighted I was able to ask Erin a few questions about her inspiration and process to share with you here.  Enjoy!

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  1. When did you first get interested in painting?

    I have been interested in making images since I was young, 5 years old or so. I developed my skills in high school and art school, but I didn’t really start painting until about 12 years ago. Before that, I was mostly drawing. Now I paint almost every day.

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  2. How did you settle on portraiture and painting icons?  How do you decide on subject matter?

    I’ve always been interested in making portraits because there is an unlimited supply of subject matter.  People are so interesting and I love meeting new people whenever possible. I can paint a portrait that aims to show the soul of the subject, or I can use a model to create a character. The icons are more for fun. I only sell those paintings once in a while because they are painted from found images. One day I hope to be at the level where I’m meeting these people and photographing them myself.  I have been thinking about creating limited edition boxes that include an icon painting and other handmade items, but that concept is still in the works.

    As far as choosing my subjects, these days the majority of my paintings are by commission, so the subjects are clients. When I choose someone for a personal work, I usually have some kind of mood board for the painting and I seek out friends or people on social media to model. As far as the icons I’ve chosen to paint, sometimes I select them based on a striking image and sometimes because I’m a fan. When I painted Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, it was because I was possibly going to have the chance to meet Martha and I wanted to give her something cool (I did meet her and give her the painting!)

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  3. You use lush colors and often have gorgeous patterns in your paintings.  Have you always been attracted to colors and patterns?

    It’s funny. I took more classes in the fibers department than I did painting in art school. I took 4 semesters of weaving, not to mention several other classes in the department versus only two painting classes. I learned to dye and create textiles and studied textile design from many different cultures. At some point I asked myself, if you love this type of imagery, why aren’t you painting it? After that, pattern and color became an integral part of my work.

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  4. As someone who loves colors and patterns myself (August Table is all about patterns!), how do you decide which pattern to use in a painting and where do you get your inspiration?

    When I work with a client, I ask them about color scheme (what will look awesome in their homes) and then I make a digital collage with ideas for their patterns. We work together to select what will look best in their custom portrait. When I make my own work, I build a small set for my model to pose in. The “wallpapers” are either textiles that I’ve hung or paper that I’ve hand painted. In my last large work, I spent 20 hours hand painting a wallpaper for the photo shoot. It’s kind of tropical and was inspired by a trip to Cuba.

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  5. What is something fun about you that no one knows?

    I’ve always been a traveler. As soon as I was old enough to go somewhere on my own (17 yrs) I started exploring the country. I did two summers of Dead tour and had many adventures (and misadventures…like unknowingly spending the night with a cult in Nashville). I also got stranded in Mississippi once (22yrs) and lived in The Ole Miss Motel for a month. I still have this sense of adventure.

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Hi! I’m Erin. I decided to get rid of the stuffy third person bio and just tell you a little about myself. I’ve been painting (mostly) portraits since 2008 and now have collectors around the world. I create artworks of my own design as well as custom paintings by commission. This is my full-time job and I am currently booked for over a year (my clients are awesome).

I’ve painted a mural for Senator Kamala Harris and Martha Stewart owns one of my paintings! Oh yeah, so does Ringo Starr…like of The Beatles! How wild is that?

I love textiles, plants, patterns and interior design, and these themes often make it into my oil paintings. For my personal work, I actually build a set for the photo shoot to create a reference image, often handcrafting the items like rugs and wallpaper.

Summertime and travel are my favorite things, so you’ll catch me enjoying one of the two if I’m not painting my fingers off in my studio. The best place to check out my latest work is on my Instagram @fitzbomb

Artist Spotlight: Lisa Krannichfeld

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Lisa Krannichfeld first caught my eye on instagram.  I’m not sure how I stumbled across her work but I was captivated from the moment I saw one of her paintings.  The boldness of color, the prints, patterns, and the electricity I felt coming off the subjects.  I simply fell in love with each piece.   Lisa’s recent bodies of work: Undomesticated Interiors and Girls and Guise are rebelling against the traditional portrayal of women of the 17th – 19th centuries as demure, decorative objects, belonging to their husbands or fathers and seeks to retell the female narrative.

Lisa’s website states “Girls and Guise references a play on words. In this context guise references both the facade created by men of the female gender, and the heavy emphasis of the patterned clothing in the pieces. Their clothes, or guises, are infused with feral and aggressive animals, a symbolic rebellion against the historical domesticated depiction of women.  The jarring, faceless compositions represent any and all women who desire to define their own perspective and create their own narratives. Intentional hand gestures hint at conviction.”

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I had the opportunity to ask Lisa a few questions and share her answers below.

1.  I understand you grew up in the south, in Little Rock, AK. At what age did you first discover you loved to create art and paint? 

Honestly, there never was a time that I remember where I wasn’t obsessed with art and creating. I remember in elementary school art class being the most magical, fun place (until our state cut out art classes from the curriculum, sadly). It was always a part of my life, however, I didn’t really commit to it being part of my professional life until my senior year in college.
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2.  Your current body of work is focused on women with deep meaning and purpose behind your intent, refuting historical portraiture of women.  Can you share a bit about this?  How did this body of work evolve?

The work first started with portraits of women done in a headshot style. I found painting honest facial expressions more interesting than just pretty faces, so I would paint anxious faces, angry faces, confused faces, defiant faces. This led to painting women in general in a more honest way, void of just physical beauty and sexual appeal.  I started expanding my compositions to the entire figure and the figure within interior spaces.
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3.  You describe your work as loose expressive portraiture and use lush colors with many patterns and prints in the mix.  What drew you to including prints in your paintings and is there meaning behind them?

There are a few reasons why I include prints and patterns in my work. I love how the order of the patterns and prints juxtapositions itself with the chaotic style of the painted areas. I like to think of it as a metaphor for all the states a woman can be in.  Women have to juggle so many roles and be mindful of so much at any one moment that it makes sense to compose them of so many different materials in my paintings. I also use a lot of patterns that have flora and fauna as a part of the prints so there’s a bit of hidden wildness to the overall experience of the painting which I think is also a metaphor for women.

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4.  What is something fun you can share about yourself that no one knows?

I love a good creaturey sci-fi thriller. I am obsessed with french pastries. I can’t whistle. I tie my shoes bunny-ears style, which apparently no one else does.

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Lisa’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and publications nationally and internationally including shows across the United States, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Most recently her work was chosen as the grand award winner in the 2018 60th Annual Delta Exhibition. In 2017 she won the grand award at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center Juried Exhibition, and Best in Show at the 2017 Magic City Art Connection Art Fair in Birmingham, AL.

She has had work featured in numerous worldwide publications, was the face of Saatchi Art’s Spring 2019 “Refuse to be the Muse” campaign, and has had work featured in Anthropologie. Her work is included in several private and corporate collections throughout her home state of Arkansas as well as in collections around the world.

She is currently represented by M2 Gallery in Little Rock, AR, Fort Works Art in Fort Worth, TX, and Saatchi Art with shipping worldwide.

 

 

Artist spotlight: In the studio with Donna Dodson

Many of you know that among all things tabletop, entertaining, gardening and baking, I am incredibly passionate about art and artists.  This blog is about sharing passions to inspire others and bring more joy, more love and more laughter.

It’s been a while since I have shared anything about art or artists, so I decided to turn that around and have an exciting lineup of fabulous artist spotlights for you, which will unfold over the next few weeks.

The first artist spotlight is on Donna Dodson, who I met years ago in Boston.  I reached out to Donna and asked her what she’s been working on during the pandemic and in quarantine.  I am delighted to share Alpha Female, the first sculpture in her series about the Amazons.  Donna shares her thoughts below.

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This sculpture is the first one in my new series about the Amazons. I call her the Alpha Female. She has an eagle head, because the nomadic women of the ancient steppes used female golden eagles to hunt. Also, this sculpture is dedicated to my great aunt Alice, who was one of the first 40 women to join the Women’s Auxiliary Air Corps during WW2 from Illinois. The eagle is also  a patriotic symbol honoring her military service. When I was researching the Women’s Auxiliary Air Corps, I learned that eventually it became the US Air Force, but it started out as a branch of the army, and they used Athena’s helmet as their emblem on their uniforms. Since ancient amazons had tattoos, I decided to give this sculpture a tattoo of Athena’s helmet on her calf. Athena is always portrayed with breast shield, so that I made metallic breast shields on my sculpture celebrating the lineage of amazing women warriors from ancient times to the modern era. This sculpture has shoes similar to the ones I found in historic photographs of women in uniform during WW2. And the women are always dressed in skirts, never pants.

Here is a video of Donna in the studio that was created for International Sculpture Day, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wI-tbncf_WQ

 

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Donna Dodson is an American sculptor who has been honored with solo shows nationwide for her artwork. In addition her monumental works have been exhibited internationally in sculpture parks and museums. In 2015, Donna participated in a residency in Cusco Peru at the Escuela de Bellas Artes and international exchange exhibition at Museo Convento de Santo Domingo Qorikancha. In 2016 she had her first solo museum show of “Mermaids” at the New Bedford Art Museum. In 2017, Donna was invited to the International Wood Sculpture Symposium in Ringkoebing Denmark. In 2018, her life size chess set, Match of the Matriarchs premiered at the Boston Sculptors Gallery. From 2017-2019, Dodson’s solo show Zodiac was on a national museum tour.

Dodson has won grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the New Hampshire Guild of Woodworkers and the George Sugarman Foundation. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Provincetown Art Museum, the Art Complex Museum and the Fuller Craft Museum in Massachusetts and the Davistown Museum in Maine. Donna’s work has been reviewed in the Boston Globe, Sculpture Magazine and Artnet.

Dodson is a graduate of Wellesley College. Dodson enjoys public speaking, and has been a guest speaker at conferences and panels in museums and universities throughout North America. Donna regularly contributes articles to newspapers, magazines and blogs that demonstrate the economic impact and global reach of the arts sector. She recently contributed an Introduction to the monograph “The Contemporary Art of Nature: Mammals.”