Wendy Kwasny is an award-winning fine artist in San Diego who specializes in oil and acrylic portraiture, still life, and landscapes.
She earned her BA in fine art from SDSU, and regularly shows her art at The Ashton Gallery in San Diego. She is currently working out of Art on 30th and her home studio.
Wendy has shown her work in venues and collections all over San Diego in the past 25+ years and has completed numerous commissioned paintings.
Carrie: When did you first realize the importance of art in your life?
My Mom put me in private art lessons at a young age because she noticed the only time I really was focused was when I was drawing…Then, in Kindergarten, I was asked to draw the cover art for the school circus brochure. I felt honored, acknowledged, and appreciated and I wanted to keep that feeling going.
Carrie: How would you describe your art?
I create intimate and personal, personality portraits. I try to capture that certain something about someone that gives the viewer a glimpse into their world. I don’t want to just get a likeness of them, I want to capture them in a mood or emotion and really show a part of who they are. I also have an ongoing side series of nature scenes like cactus and succulents. When I don’t feel like painting people, I bounce to nature.
Carrie: What does your workspace look like?
I work at home in a detached studio space. It’s like a multipurpose mini house that serves as a guest space, studio, and office.
Carrie: Can you describe your artistic process to readers? For example, do you follow the same pattern and track when you develop an artwork from idea to product?
I’m constantly taking photos. I’m always watching the light and looking for compositions. I’m always looking for inspiration in the people and things around me. I have a photos file on my phone of possible paintings and when I’m ready to start a project, I sift through those pictures until I find something that grabs me. It very much depends on my mood and what I feel like doing.
Carrie: You are exploring different topics in your work, tell us about a few of the themes or ideas you’ve been playing with in your work.
Lately, I’ve been playing with doing portraits of people wearing different masks, like medical masks or cloth masks, since they are required for leaving the house in my area due to Coronavirus. And I have a separate series of cactus flowers that I’ve been working on simultaneously.
Carrie: What do you hope viewers take from your artwork?
I hope my work tells them a story and piques their curiosity about the subject. When I do commissioned portraits I want the viewer to be filled with emotion and love for the subject and painting.
Carrie: What do you wish you knew that you now know about your creative process?
Well, it’s taken me a long time and several “Artist Way” courses but I’ve finally learned that the most important part of the process is the “doing.” Just creating and thinking about creating for the love of it, is enough. It doesn’t matter how much work you sell or how many followers you have, it just matters that you keep working because it’s what brings balance, perspective and joy to life. And that’s the most important thing.
Carrie: What strategies do you use to help yourself when you feel “stuck?”
I like doing small paintings in a mixed media sketchbook when I feel stuck. I choose something that’s not intimidating, like a fruit still life, or shoes and do small paintings on paper. I also love blind contour drawing as a fun and freeing practice.
Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?
When I had children and my world turned upside down, it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to paint and to find time to paint. Eventually, I found my groove and honestly, I paint my kids constantly. It’s so fun to watch them grow through my paintings and as they get older it just gets better. They make accommodating models.
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
My camera (iPhone)
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
Like I mentioned, I draw most of my inspiration from my family and our little adventures in nature. I also am inspired by our garden and nature in general.
Carrie: What does the word artist mean to you?
Someone who creates. That could be with paint, words, music, food…it doesn’t need to be some crazy, grand thing. Being an artist is a state of mind.
Additional Contact Info:
@wendykwasnyart on IG and FB
Great interview, Great tips and information. I have found a few similarities with myself. 🙂
I’m so glad you enjoyed it Elsie! <3
Fab interview Carrie. Thank you🙏🏻
Thank you!! <3 🙂
Always encouraging to hear from another mom-artist. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never find my groove to make art consistently, but these mommas inspire me to press on! I loved hearing that she paints her kiddos, too.
These mommas remind me as a brand new one it’s all possible! <3
The process of “doing is enough” is hard to explain to non-artists. People always feel as though art needs to be monitized but if it’s sold its OK but never monetized…. that just kills creativity.
If we want to communicate it in a way to non-artists that they might understand, I ask, why do they play golf? To become a professional golfer? To win leagues? You can insert lots of activities here: gardening, watching movies, reading…
For some reason, our culture sets a higher standard for art and artists. It’s unfair an expectation, especially if a creative has no desire to become a marketer, too.