Monday, December 28

Artist Interview: Lindy Gruger Hanson

Namaste                                         L.Gruger

I met Oregon Artist Lindy Gruger Hanson this past spring through an art trade. I remember the day her print Shimmer and Shine arrived. I was a kid on Christmas tearing into the package in the post office parking lot – couldn’t even make it home! Seriously. My smile was ear to ear at seeing her art in person. Absolutely stunning! This girl understands color and line. Between her brilliant use of the two, I swoon. It brings me happiness to see her print hanging on my wall each day. So – you can imagine my pleasure when she accepted my invitation to be interviewed. Despite being a busy working artist - she has new work hanging year round at Tumalo Art Co., a bustling  etsy storefront and an upcoming exhibit this January and February at Black Butte Ranch Lodge – she made time! I appreciate this tremendously and feel inspired after reading her creative insights – Thanks Lindy!

Read on for the full interview + a peek at her lovely original acrylic paintings

Lindy Gruger Hanson + pups 

In 2008, you chose to leave your former job to pursue art full time. Please tell us a little bit about what making that decision was like. How has your life changed since?
I love to travel. It played a big role in deciding to quit my full-time job. My hope is to do more traveling now that I am not tied to two weeks vacation a year. I've always liked that saying "Looks like two weeks vacation isn't going to cut it anymore". Last January we were able to spend some time in Costa Rica and Mexico and experience different cultures and lifestyles. I had an outdoor art studio in Mexico which was wonderful. Being outdoors most of the time for painting was very inspiring and I loved it! I also love the flexibility of my schedule now that I am self-employed. 

What is creativity to you?
The subject of creativity is so wide. I think we're all creative but in different ways. It is what makes each of us who we are. Creativity is imagination. It's using one's uniqueness to create something. What was once just a thought is now turned into something one can see, hear, touch, feel. I think it is just amazing how most everything, except nature of course, was once just a thought. A concept. And then we use our creativity to make it real and tangible, that's just a miracle to me.

Slice of Night                                            L. Gruger

Why do you make art?
I have a deep desire to express myself through mark making. The act of creating something is very satisfying. Since I was a very small child, I have felt the desire to make stuff. I like the idea that my mark making is what I call my symbolic language. Often when words are not enough, I use art to express what I am feeling. 

What drives you to come up with ideas for your work, what are your sources of inspiration?
My work comes mainly from my imagination but I do adore symbolism and mythology. My early inspiration came from a big art encyclopedia that my parents owned and it was through looking at this big book that I became aware of Klee, Chagall, Miró and Kandinsky which I was very drawn to. I love ancient cave paintings, the petroglyphs and then there is the study of dreams which is so fascinating! In college I studied the psychology of Carl Jung, the archetypes, the collective unconscious and synchronicity. All these interests indirectly or directly affect my art.  I would say those subjects I mentioned and my unique take on nature are my inspirations today as well as birds. I love watching birds. And then there is the idea that all things are made up of energy which I like to show as glowing objects in my paintings. I love the idea that we are all connected and we are all made up of energy.

Fiesta Song                              L. Gruger

What do you hope to communicate to your audience through your paintings?
My paintings are very personal. I often say that I hope that my art can bring some joy into peoples lives. I believe art can be healing. I hope the viewer is touched by my art and it stirs something in them, whether it be an emotion or a smile. I am often told that it is the vivid color that draws people to my art and I like that it can capture people's attention that way.

What's your current or next art project?
I'm currently working on a bird and garden series of paintings. I have started incorporating using a dot pattern in my work and I seem to be using less black outline then in the past. I like experimenting with these ideas and I'm excited to see where it will take my art.

Meditation Garden                              L. Gruger

Describe what "Art Success" looks like to you.
I think of art success in two ways. One is the business side of success and the other is the personal side, the satisfaction I get from completing a painting. Art success is accomplishing the goals I've set for myself. It is reaching a certain point and then going beyond, stretching myself in new directions. For example, I've wanted to try using less black line in my art so I've been experimenting with that. I have a couple paintings that I feel I've reached that goal and I would consider that an "art success".  

What words of wisdom would you share with people pioneering a path to live an authentic life following their passion?
I would say don't give up. Your passion is likely the path you are meant to follow. It helps to surround yourself with like minded people and those that will support your decisions and listen to you when you have disappointments, because you will, but they will help you to get back on your feet and start again. And listen to your heart, for surely the journey of the heart will lead you to an authentic and true life.

One Lives in an Enchanted Garden L. Gruger

And I couldn't resist asking - - 

List (9) simple pleasures / delights of your day

1. watching the snow fall softly outside
2. seeing our two border collies play together and having so much fun in the now!
3. smelling fresh baked lemon blueberry muffins 
4. getting a letter in the mail from an old friend
5. finding exactly what I need at the store amongst all the people scrambling with their holiday  shopping
6. planning a coffee date with a friend
7. loving the look of light blue paint next to red
8. a big hug and a smile from my sweetie
9. feeling the house warm up after building a fire in the wood stove

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