"One night in a dream a floating egg cracked open and out came a beautiful pair of eyes. That next morning the eyes were born on wood with acrylic paints." Kristi Standley
Austin based artist Kristi Standley is known for her paintings of people, in particular women. As featured artist at the gallery for February, we will be hosting an opening reception of her show "A Fresh Look" this Saturday, February 8, from 4-7pm.
READ ABOUT THE ARTIST
Kristi was born near Houston and moved to Austin at the age of 6. A self-taught artist, Kristi began creating at a very young age; tucked away in her baby book is a recognizable drawing of a happy hippo that she drew at age 3. She became a prolific drawer filling journals and drawing pads with various characters in whimsical scenes. However, she stayed away from color. “I was always afraid of color, I thought I would ruin my carefully rendered drawings with it.”
As she grew older Kristi was determined to go further with her art, so she taught herself how to paint. She sat on her hardwood floors and poured over piles of art books. Never reading them really, just studying the pictures. She practiced painting them, trying to copy the line, shape and shadow of the much more accomplished artists on the pages. One night in a dream a floating egg cracked open and out came a beautiful pair of eyes. That next morning the eyes were born on wood with acrylic paints.
Years later Kristi took an oil painting class. Oils are now her preferred medium and after all these years she still uses wood as the substrate. Kristi spends a few minutes sketching an idea then uses a camera to capture it with a live person. “I add elements to the paintings to create the visions I have in my head, embellishing the paintings with representational imagery to create an idea or concept.
Now in 2020 the new decade has brought Kristi to exploring those eyes again in her new studio in her home’s master bedroom. "So this year I’m exploring both my history and my present life to create art. It’s an exciting time for me!"
KRISTI TALKS ABOUT HER ART
My life has centered around art for many years. In the beginning there were countless hours of observing and drawing and creating in any way possible. I started to teach myself how to paint about 20 years ago then took an oil painting class in 2009. When I paint, I prefer birch wood over canvas as my substrate. I also leave the wood grain as the background, making each piece quite striking. It also leads the viewer to focus right into the eyes of my subjects. My figurative oil paintings are evocative and bold. The colors are bright, and the textures of the wood grain all make for a beautiful edition to any one’s life. I paint from my home studio, always creating. It’s best to keep a close eye on me, you never know what I’ll come up with next.
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU LIFE BEFORE YOU BECAME AN ARTIST.
When was that??!! Lol. I can't remember a time I wasn't tinkering with this medium or that one. I have always been an artist and I always will be.
DID YOU DO ART OR ARTSY THINGS WHILE GROWING UP?
Yes, I made finger puppets with construction paper, I drew comical figures in my notebooks or on random pieces of paper lying around the house and many other projects. I was always busy creating.
WHEN DID YOU START MAKING ART AND HOW OR WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO DO THIS?
I never made a conscious decision to be an artist. It just organically morphed and became a huge part of my life.
WHO WAS YOUR FIRST MENTOR OR PERSON OF INSPIRATION?
Any and all of the children's book illustrators in my closet. I sat on the floor and copied their characters until I could create and draw my own.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE ARTIST?
This is going to sound weird because it's an illustrator and not a fine artist but its Mary Engelbriet. It's hard to not smile when you see her beautiful drawings.
WHERE HAVE YOU STUDIED OR LEARNED TO DO WHAT YOU DO?
On the floor in my childhood closet. Later, on my hardwood floors of my own home. Basically I am self taught. I took a figure drawing class in college at Texas State. And years later an oil painting class at Austin Community College.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION? HOW TO YOU DECIDE WHAT TO PAINT? TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT HOW YOU APPROACH A PAINTING AND YOUR PROCESS TO WORK THROUGH IT.
Faces, of course, inspire me. A person's face captures me and then I get to know the personality behind the face and go from there. Wild or subdued colors bring forth a mood and then "voila!" I have a finished piece.
TELL US ANY OTHER DETAILS ABOUT YOURSELF OR YOUR ART THAT HAVE MADE YOU THE ARTIST YOU ARE TODAY.
I started painting eyes in early 2000, I believe. I painted model's eyes from fashion magazines. Then a gallery owner suggested I paint 'real' people's eyes. So I did, for awhile. Then i moved to faces and now, for this show, I decided to paint eyes again! I love eyes... they are truly "windows to the soul"
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING A PROFESSIONAL ARTIST?
Being able to communicate to the viewer through pictures that I created is a powerful thing.
January welcomed our newest artist, Dawn Winter, as part of our show "Triple Play". Read below to learn more about this contemporary abstract painter from Austin.
Tell us a little bit about your life before you became an artist.
I began painting after a trip to Santa Fe, NM inspired me to exploring this new opportunity to explore my creativity. Prior to becoming an artist, I had (and still have) interests in design and architecture. The use of color and our surroundings in which we live were subjects in which I was drawn towards and I've spent many hour pouring over design and architecture resources. I was busy as a stay-at-home mom and the idea of painting abstract paintings hadn't even crossed my mind. My life was filled with managing the details of raising kids, maintaining a home and several community activities. The closest to painting was painting the interior walls of my home!
Did you do art or artsy things growing up?
While younger, I spent many hours making collages from photos cut from magazines and I enjoyed coloring as a young girl. Illustration and drawing were never of interest and I enjoyed playing around with painting, but on a very limited basis.
When did you start to make art and why or how did you make the decision to do this?
I began painting after a trip with my mom to Santa Fe, NM inspired me to return to Austin to explore painting. I was in my early 40's and prior to Santa Fe, NM while I had been impressed with other's paintings, I hadn't given any thought to myself painting. As my mom and I meandered through the many galleries, I became more and more enthralled with both the sculptures and paintings. I was awestruck with their beauty and and also was curious how the artists created their work. Upon returning home to Austin, I began asking questions about the process of painting and eventually found my way to a local art store to purchase my first art supplies.
Who was your first mentor or person of inspiration?
I was inspired by paintings in which the use of colors, layering and the depth that artists created. Also, with the notion that each person can have their own individual impressions or ideas of images within paintings. So, for this reason I admired several abstract artists.
Who is your favorite artist?
Clyfford Still and Helen Frankenthaler are two of my favorite artists as I find their work fascinating.