This past weekend I was invited to Headwaters Art Gallery in Caledon Ontario to the Fire and Ice Art festival to visit with some talented artists and creators. Despite the usually foggy January weather it was evident that this group of artists and creators are clearly passionate about their work and love taking the time to give advise and share their passion with others. Ashley Kurtz was one artist that I had the privilege of interviewing. I first fell in love with her work because of her vibrant use of color and her captivating mixed media pieces. Here is what she had to say.
Q: How long have you been painting?
A: I’ve always done creative things but I took a bit of a hiatus after university to focus on my career so within the last two years Ive started getting back in to it.
Q:What inspires you to paint?
A: What has been inspiring me lately is the resiliency of the feminine spirit. A lot of my art work has feminine tones. More recently, even in my day job I’m meeting women who have had challenges in their lives and it astonishes me how much they can come back from that and do wonderful things with themselves.
Ashley and her Encaustic Art pieces
Q:How have you grown and developed as an artist or a creative person over the years?
A: I think I’ve gone through almost every genre of art but I have a real interest in surrealism. However, lately I’ve been getting into more abstract and encaustic art, which I’ve been finding is a good balance for my A type personality. I have to let go of some of the control and let things flow a little bit naturally. So in that way it’s a bit therapeutic as well.
Q: How would you describe Encaustic Art?
A: Its bees wax mixed with a pine resin. Its an ancient medium and you can mix the wax with an oil paint and its so timeless and beautiful.
Q: What are some challenges you have faced and what advise would you give to some one in a similar situation?
A: Well because I do my art for more therapeutic reasons and because it’s a hobby and not a career I don’t care as much about the criticism. I do it really for my self and not necessarily to sell it. But my biggest challenge is definitely having two toddlers and a full-time job so I only have a limited amount of time to work on my art and sometimes I get frustrated if I can’t finish it within a certain time frame. I would advise anyone in a similar situation is to find the time do what you need to do even if its hiring a babysitter for a few hrs because after you feel so good and your in such a good mood.
Q: What’s your creative process like?
A: A lot of time I’ll think about a composition the night before bed or when im in the car driving. I might do a quick sketch but because my time is so limited with the art usually I just go at it. A lot of time I’ll create base that does not represent the end result and work it up from there. I find that creates a lot more depth in the piece of art. Then what I usually do is put it somewhere where I’m walking past it all the time like in the kitchen or in the living room so I am able to see it in my peripheral vision. I find that when I’m not thinking about it I’m always like oh it needs this and that. It less stressful than staring at it all the time
“Don’t Go” by Ashley Kurtz
This piece (above) is from my days when I used to take the go train into Toronto. There is a certain section of line along the rail or along Bathurst street where there is gorgeous graffiti art and then up above it you can see the sky scrapers. So that is what this piece is visualizing here and it represents this starkness of the high-rises and the vibrancy of the community down below. That was the best part of my commute so it came out in this piece