Posted on April 11, 2018 at 6:00 am
Shortly after The BookEnd opened at the Spokane Valley Mall in May 2017, I knew it was missing something. With some handy work from our facilities guys and some connections with local artists, The BookEnd soon had a rotating display of monthly local artists gracing its walls.
The artists’ styles have ranged from minimal sketches inspired by their favorite literary works, to intricate watercolors, to raw, impulsive paintings in acrylic. All have been a welcome addition to our new library space in the mall and draw comments from customers all month. We already have several more artists lined up through the summer and into fall, so be sure to drop by the see what is new on The BookEnd’s art wall each month.
I sat down with four of our featured artists and discussed their work, what drives them, and their process. Here are a few insights into their art and artistry.
Immediate expression characterizes Dani Dubrawski’s acrylic works. When inspiration strikes, she finishes a painting in a day—12 hours of painting and the art piece is done—a quick snapshot of the emotion she needed to express on the canvas. Whether stress from work or something more joyous, it finds its way through her brush onto the canvas.
While most of her artwork on display at The BookEnd was abstract or tribal-inspired animals, more recently Dani has been focusing on her female series. In her short time displaying her art, the work has been well received at the Garden Expo and Art on the Ave. To her surprise, the female series paintings have been her most popular work.
Dani shared that interacting with people and experiencing her art through new eyes is almost as rewarding as creating the painting. One woman was so enthralled with her paintings of the feminine figure, she ran off shouting, “I’ve got to tell Candice!” Hours later the woman came back with Candice, and together, the three started discussing what Dani was feeling as she was painting and what inspired each one. Candice purchased several paintings for her home, which was rewarding, yet Dani says that the experience of discussing her work with the women and feeling their energy and excitement for her artwork was an even greater reward.
You can see more examples of Dani’s artwork on her Facebook page.
Attention to detail, meticulous planning, and an informed curiosity are the forces behind Holly D. Hyndman’s watercolors. For each art piece, she spends a majority of her time planning, and it shows in the layering of her work. Holly has been painting for roughly 20 years and is self-taught. You may have seen Holly’s painting of a local quarry on display at the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture in conjunction with the Spokane Watercolor Society’s Annual Juried Show.
The one exception to her long process for painting watercolors is an acrylic painting based on a photo of shipping containers from the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake in northeastern Japan and the ensuing tsunami. Holly had hosted exchange students from Japan over the years, so the tragedy, and that image in particular, struck a chord that drove her to paint with immediacy. She recounted double-loading her brush and painting until she was exhausted. The vibrant reds and blues of the harried brush work and disheveled shipping containers create a counterpoint to Holly’s usually measured work.
Learn more about Holly and her art at hollyhyndman.com.
Isaac Denton’s artwork features detailed portraits, many of musicians, which drew people in to see them at the BookEnd. My favorite was a smaller work of a parachute jumper, with great detail of his parachute pack.
While Isaac works in primarily watercolor, he likes to leave “a presence of the medium” and not get tied too closely to replication or photo-realism. He seems to be drawn to painting portraits.
Isaac shared with me the story of an early experience of commissioned artwork for a family to portray their recently deceased father/grandfather. “The daughter sent me a handwritten letter thanking me and telling me about how she couldn’t figure out where to hang the picture once her family had gone home after giving her the painting for Christmas. She wrote that she fell asleep, felt a calming presence, and then woke up to see the picture across the room. It seemed like her father was there with her, and she mentioned the importance of his eyes in the painting.”
This experience has motivated Isaac to continue painting and to try to always capture a reflection of the essence of the person in his artwork.
You can see more examples of Isaac’s artwork on his Facebook page.
Katrina Brennan is an artist with an abstract style, and much of her artwork that was displayed at The BookEnd focused on animals. Her artwork is surreal and at times whimsical. Katrina told me that she is more concerned with the emotion that a painting or animal evokes than being visually representative.
When she paints portraits, you’ll notice her skill and attention to detail in creating a representation that speaks to its purpose. Katrina does spend time observing the world and its inhabitants in order to practice realism to inform technique. She shared with me that a few years ago she was commissioned to paint a portrait and it was one of the most difficult pieces she had ever taken on, mainly due to the responsibility to capture the subject’s likeness.
Her main aim in her artwork is to capture the spiritual presence of each subject, whether it is a leopard dreaming of a hunt, a southwestern scene where the sky and hills meet at the horizon, or a moose staring through you on a night with a full moon. Most of Katrina’s artwork showcases a convergence of reality and dream—the representative and the spiritual.
You can see more examples of Katrina’s artwork on her Facebook page.
Currently on display