i. I work as a visual artist focusing on botanical art.
ii. I do this creative work because:
It allows me to feed my curiosity for the natural world and share my love for it with others.
iii. A ‘typical’ day for me in the pandemic involves:
I start the day by having coffee with my husband, a bit of pruning and caring for the house plants (numbering at 17 atm), a few minutes of exercise followed by a series of cravings that I cannot control since the start of my pregnancy. Work starts in the afternoon, at the studio or at home, and goes on till dinner time or until very late at night, depending on how ‘in the zone’ I feel. I try to find pockets in the day to browse through the work of my favorite artists online or in books. A favorite thing to do is to collect folders of images of plants and flowers for future projects. My least favorite is to organize these folders and clear up space or update my website.
Fresa Vanilla Limon
iv. Personal qualities that help me in my work:
The qualities that are most helpful come from the introverted half of my personality. I get deeply focused for hours on end and become very grumpy if interrupted, so people know to steer clear when I ‘get the look’. I have also found that detail doesn’t tire me. Working on a few square inches of paper for an hour is the best form of entertainment.
v. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
Interruptions, whether to eat, drink or hold a conversation, it all steals away from the need to immerse yourself in the painting. Also, since becoming pregnant, the lack of motivation to sit down and get started is real. A baby saps a lot of the energy that you just take for granted until it’s not there.
vi. Creative childhood hobbies:
I was lucky to grow up in Costa Rica with a little jungle for my back yard and five very creative and loving aunts. We, the small army of cousins, spent endless hours outdoors playing in the wild corners of our garden and just as much time indoors, painting and crafting under their supervision. I just seemed to be enjoying painting more than the rest, to the point where they had to remind me to go home hours after everyone had left.
vii. Show, podcasts, books that I’m into right now:
I am in love with ‘Making Ink’ a book by Jason Logan on creating a palette from everyday objects. I have only just gotten started by making a dark red pigment from avocado seeds. I am on a steady diet of skincare YouTube videos, an obsession that I may have taken a bit too far. In terms of podcasts, I enjoy listening and occasionally falling asleep to the New Yorker’s Writer’s Voice and Fiction late at night.
viii. Training that has helped me in this career:
It would be disingenuous to say that going to art school, watching other artists on skillshare or reading up on technique hasn’t helped. It has certainly opened my eyes to how much there is to know. However, what helps me the most is the process of trial and error, not being afraid to experiment, and consistent practice.
ix. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:
Judgment, either giving too much weight to other’s opinions, good or bad, or being your own harshest critic. It’s almost guaranteed that I will hate a painting I just finished, but give it a week and I’ll be loving it again as much as when It wasn’t done. It’s the cycle of creativity and you get used to it.
x. Some proud career moments:
Having my first solo show last October in Vancouver. It’s been three years since I moved here, without knowing more than a handful of people, and five years since I picked up painting again after a ten year hiatus. It’s been an uphill climb in many ways but a very rewarding journey that is just getting started.
xi. Upcoming shows or events include:
I will be auctioning one painting for the BC Women’s Hospital Changemaker’s Market event on March 14th. I am wary of planning anything big in the midst of a pandemic and a baby on the way. However, I am optimistic that this year we will have a normal Vancouver Art Crawl and I will be the happiest to have people over at studio 204, 1000 Parker Street.
xii. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Love what you do. Making art is like being in a relationship. You may have lots of goals about the two of you, things you’ll achieve and places you’ll go, but if there’s no honesty and love it all falls apart. Learn to love your work and don’t kid yourself about what you don’t. It’s the love that will keep you going, no matter what the world thinks about your work.
xiii. A professional goal I have for the future:
A short term professional goal is figuring out my next series. After my last series, ‘Grandma’s Patio’, where I delved into the nostalgia of sharing plants in upcycled containers around the family, I have been at a loss of finding something as meaningful to me. There are lots of moving parts, i.e. subjects, that are slowly coming together around a central theme. A long term professional goal is to complete the Society of Botanical Artists program, which I see as a chance to delve even deeper in the subject matter at the heart of my work.