Here at Dixon Smith Interiors, we'd like you to get to know our current artists-in-residence... their artwork brings light and life to our walls, and we thought it would be nice for our customers and visitors to see the personalities and faces behind the artwork. Our second artist interview is with Kelli Kaufman, an artist from Lafayette, Louisiana who has come to be known for her beautiful interpretations of Louisiana landscapes, Louisiana Oaks, and soulful nudes.
Hilary: What is your creative process like?
Kelli: "I start with a colorful under-painting, and then move on to the composition phase with a loose charcoal drawing on top. Then I begin adding layers of color with oil and wax, using large brushes and palette knives, constantly evaluating what will remain and what will get covered up with each layer."
Hilary: What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own?
Kelli: "As a landscape painter, my intent is to provoke a feeling rather than to capture realism. Louisiana vistas of marshland and prairies, moss-draped oaks with twisted trunks, and painterly sunset skies are the inspiration behind my work. I strive to provide a quiet solitude in my paintings, not through realism, but through a connection with nature that is left to interpretation."
Hilary: What is your favorite medium to use for your artwork?
Kelli: "I prefer using oil and cold wax on either canvas or wood panel."
Hilary: What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Kelli: "I am constantly reminding myself not to deem anything on the canvas as precious. I have to remain willing to sacrifice things on the canvas in order for the painting to progress. It can be a challenge to let go, to be open to surprises, and to purposely "mess up" a painting, but the result from doing so will often reveal the difference between just another pretty picture and an interesting and complex work of art."
Hilary: What do you feel is the best part of making your pieces?
Kelli: "The 'mistakes' or road blocks that I face are often the most fulfilling challenges to overcome, and probably my favorite thing about being an artist. The paintings that I deem as failures are usually the ones that simply need more time to evolve. Leonardo Da Vinci said, 'art is never finished, only abandoned'. The pieces that I set aside and come back to much later are often the paintings I end up liking the most. Being patient and open to the evolution of the creative process is my favorite part of what I do."
Hilary: How has your style of painting changed over the years?
Kelli: "It's been an ongoing journey of finding my own personal voice. I've become less hurried in the process, realizing that each piece deserves time and patience. I've also come to realize that time spent traveling, visiting museums, boating on the Vermilion River, and even carpooling the kids under the cover of cotton candy clouds are all just as important to my process as standing at my easel everyday."
Hilary: What do you wish you knew when you first got started painting?
Kelli: "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. The best way to keep getting better at what you do, is to keep doing it over and over and over again. Just as paintings need time to evolve, so do artists."
Hilary: What is the best art tip you ever received?
Kelli: "Take risks and do the shocking things early on in the process. It's intimidating to throw hot pink paint on a nearly finished landscape, but it's much easier when you haven't committed to anything yet while the painting is not so 'precious'."
To learn more about Kelli and her artwork, please visit her website at www.kellikaufman.com. Also remember to stop by the Shop and check our website frequently as we are receiving new pieces from Kelli on a constant basis.
Future Solo Show: October 5th, 2017 at Dixon Smith Interiors