Introducing Guest Artist Stephanie Birdsall
“The first reason I wanted to do this is because I love Kathryn. I met her years ago at a paint-out with the Rocky Mountain plein air painters. I love her to pieces and I am honored that she thinks this of me and that she wants me in this show. Kathryn is a flower.”
What is the first thing that you think or do when you wake up in the morning?
“Look outside or check the weather We have had a horrible winter and now that it is spring, I am blown away. Let’s say two days a week it rains. I can paint with artificial light but it doesn’t resonate with me in the same way. My paintings are softer because of the natural light I use. It is harder to put a date on some of my paintings as they may be started one year and carry over into the next, when the same flowers bloom again. I also have coffee and meditate in the morning.”
What makes you whole?
“I am inspired by nature. I have what I consider an organic backdrop 90 percent of the time. My excitement comes from looking out the window or being outside…We have a lot of COVID. Normally, you can’t walk on my street because it is so narrow and there isn’t room with cars. It has been so quiet here without the traffic, that I have found some great places to plein air paint. I have been able to note the color changes in the new spring baby green as it matures into summer. I have been able to immerse myself in nature. I have more birds than I have ever seen. I had a bear come by the other day! He looked me in the eye, stopped and kept going…I am literally inspired by looking outside. I like to lie on the ground and look up through the trees and just listen.”
Was there a pivotal moment or experience in your life when you decided to pursue art as a career?
“For me it was always going to be art or music. I grew up with a father who was the equivalent of a concert violinist. I studied piano and classical guitar….I see paintings as music. To be honest, I am literally made up of art and music…I think flowers are melodic. The way they bend, move, travel. The way your eyes go through a painting is musical. You have your loud places and your soft places, staccato, forte and pianissimo.”
“I was a plein air painter and when I moved to Tucsan the heat chased me inside, so now I bring the plein air inside. This was when I started doing more still life floral paintings.”
What is a flower?
“Beauty; delicacy; timeless; moody; sassy; quiet; stubborn; wistful; loving; definitely have attitude…
I see everything as having life and a story. I see a story in the painting I am working on. I see relationships between my flowers, and this is partly how I build my compositions…what are they doing with each other? Why are they in this together?”
“They make me happy… I am so over-awed that sometimes I can barely believe my eyes. They are so miraculous to me. I almost cannot even believe that they are real because they are so amazing. I could almost spend my life looking at them and not painting them. The color and translucency. I am overwhelmed, inspired. Every time spring comes around in any part of the world we feel hopeful. My energy level is different than it was last winter.”
Why is this meaningful to you, and what do you seek to communicate in these works?
“I truly believe that my goal is to make the world a better place. If I do a beautiful painting and someone takes it home, puts it in their hallway and they walk by it and it makes their day better, I have done my job. As we feel better, we make others feel better. I feel like my job is to lift up the level. Sharing my paintings and my philosophy about them is how I believe I can make the world a better place.”