Wendy Westlake is a Minneapolis-based artist focusing on large scale, botanical and abstract paintings. She spent much of her career in watercolors, but a desire to work on a large scale drew her into acrylic and oils, where she now focuses.
I chose this time of year to feature Wendy as her paintings are so fresh and bright – perfect for summer vibes.
5 Questions for Wendy Westlake
1) What is your favorite kind of work to do at the moment?
At the moment I am really captivated by subtlety. Whether it’s a slight change in hue or intensity of color I am trying to make the most of this quality in my work. I also love very delicate changes in texture, which is one of the reasons I work on raw, or un-gessoed canvas. I find if I begin the process by applying very thinned layers of paint I can achieve varying textural qualities as I gradually build layers with more and more paint in selected areas. It’s often hard to see this quality unless you are physically viewing the painting. (One of the reasons we all need to see art in person! :))
2) What kinds of things inspire you?
Many things inspire me but one thing I’ve noticed that often catches me by surprise is finding interesting color combinations. It happens very randomly. I may be having lunch and a blue menu sitting on a warm wood table top might spark an idea…or an orange school bus parked in front of a pale green building might pique my interest. I guess you could say that I’m drawn to color!
3) Who else do you admire in the art space?
Ooh that’s a hard one; I admire so many artists past and present. I admire artists who are really true to their vision, who aren’t concerned with what everyone else is doing and I can recognize their work immediately. Claire Kirkup from Australia is one who fits that category, her work is gorgeous, very strong and energetic, it has sort of a Joan Mitchell feel but she is definitely doing her own thing. A bit closer to home is Holly Addi. I recognize her work immediately and it is very minimal and soothing.
4) Coolest possession?
It has to be my studio. I still can’t believe I have a whole building to create art in. I purchased an old auto parts supply shop in 2017. My husband and I did some renovations right away and have been slowly continuing to tweak it. It’s my happy place for sure!
5) Favorite quote or words to live by?
I know there’s the idea out there that there are no new ideas but I firmly reject that. What fun would that be as an artist? I probably ask myself 1,000 times during the course of one painting: “What if I…made that shape bigger, longer, bluer, greener, redder, more opaque, more transparent, overlapping, or disappear?” I ask that about almost every element in the painting so that’s a lot of questions, options and possibilities present in every work I do. It’s what keeps me coming back again and again; I want to see something new or a new take on something that is existing. I keep pushing myself but really it is more of an adventure in exploration.
To see more from Wendy, follow her on IG or visit her site.
I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week!