This issue our featured artist is Mt Juliet resident Kristin Schmidt. Perch's resident water-color artist, Kristin's original work and sweet, greeting cards have been a Perch favorite with our customers. I caught up with Kristin this past week and asked her a few questions about her life and process as an artist, and how she juggles family life with her artistic pursuits.
When did you first fall in love with watercolor?
After a lifetime of trying different artistic mediums, it wasn't until about four years ago that I decided to attempt watercolor for the first time. I'd been seeing a lot of dreamy florals around that time, and became determined to give it a shot! It was not love at first try, but I stuck with it, and now I can't imagine ever going back to any other medium!
Did you study art in university?
I was offered a partial scholarship to Kansas City Art Institute, but was hesitant to add so much pressure to something I wanted to do for enjoyment. I ended up taking a full academic scholarship to a community college instead, but took mostly art classes anyway!
What inspires you to paint? How do you choose your subjects?
I'd say I'm mostly inspired by nature and holidays. But I also love words. So sometimes it will be a catchy phrase that comes to me first, and I create a painting in my mind to match, and sometimes it's the other way around. There are just so many random things that bring me joy, and I love to paint them in a slightly whimsical way, surrounded by a lot of white space. I love white space.
What are the challenges of maintaining a creative space in a household with 3 children all being home-schooled, a husband and two Bernese mountain dogs that just had puppies?
Well, it was nearly impossible until a few years ago when my youngest became a bit more self-sufficient. I started first with sneaking out of the house once a week to an adult's art class downtown at Centennial Art Center. It was the first time since high school that I had felt so inspired, so I made it a priority in our current house (that we moved into almost four years ago) to have a designated art space. My talented wood-working husband created my dream space by converting a small corner of our bonus room into a full-blown "art nook." It's got a large fold-down wood tabletop, upper & lower storage, and vertical slots for all my canvases and sketchbooks. My favorite part is my display of little glass containers and vases filled with a variety of paint brushes, fine liner pens, Prismacolor pencils, etc. So eclectic and fun. I then decided to frame all of my favorite pieces of my kid's art on one wall, all the way up to the ceiling, and my own artwork on the opposing wall. It's a bit wild and crazy, but I find it so inspiring! When the kiddos go to bed, it's mama's time to sit down and create. I crank up my James Taylor Greatest Hits, or sometimes Michael Bolton or Morgan Wallen, and I start painting.
What artists have influenced your work, and who do you most admire?
A childhood favorite was Monet, but I've discovered so many incredible watercolor artists on Instagram. I try not to let their work discourage me through comparison, but rather allow it to inspire me to keep creating. The three artists that inspire me most would be Spanish artist, Gustavo Revelles, German artist, Victoria Florentina, and Australian artist, Anastasia Mily. Each of them has such a cohesive style that I swoon over. People should definitely check them out!
What is the piece that you love the most of all your work and why?
Oooooh....that's a good question. You're probably referring to a watercolor piece, but the couple that first come to mind is a soft pastel drawing I did of a mother's hand holding her baby's hand, when I was in high school.
I used unconventional colors that look like an oil spill, but somehow had such a realistic finished look. I gifted it to my mom for mother's day and I was extremely proud of it. Then a few years ago I painted an acrylic piece from a picture I'd taken of my daughter a day after she had a procedure done at Vanderbilt Children's. She was traipsing through the atrium at Opryland Hotel up ahead of us, with the sun through the skylights hitting her curly blonde hair just so, looking so carefree, and I was struck by the beauty of resiliency.