Wednesday, we took a look at an abstract artist by the name of Nicholas Ashton, a man whose textures emote the wells of our feelings in every piece he creates. Today, we are discovering a woman whose art style couldn't be more different. Join me in this small feature as I elaborate, and allow me to introduce artist Kara Willhite.
To explain justly, I must first introduce my early impressions of Willhite's work. Two words came to mind upon immediate inspection, "beautiful" and "simple." Not "simple" in the mediocre sense, as her artworks are rather quite detailed despite their simplicity (see process below), but "simple" as it correlates with an almost Nirvanic ideology.
Nirvana, by definition, is a state of perfect happiness. Although our everyday lives are anything but perfect, they can at least be happy. What I'm trying to reiterate here is, that's how Willhite's works make me feel. Happy. At ease. Joyful.
Imagine for a moment, waking up to screaming children fighting as they walk into your room to tell on one another. You look at the clock, it's eight AM. You have a pounding headache from the night before. Why? You snuck a little booze to ease the stress of the day and ended up drinking a little too much. Imagine the grouchiness, imagine yelling at your children telling them to quiet down: now imagine dragging yourself out of bed to start your day, hair in tangles, an alcohol stain on your favorite pajamas. You stand up, rub the back of your drooping neck, thinking "what a terrible way to start the day," and then you raise your head and are greeted by the frame on the wall. Despite the morning's start, you feel a little bit lighter. You're greeted by your favorite bird, a hummingbird, and he stares into your sleepy eyes. He reminds you: "Take a deep breath, it will be ok," and you follow his earnest advice; you breathe and regain your calm. You find a bit of joy.
You remember life is only as complicated as you allow it to be.
It's a hard pill to swallow at times, and perhaps a little difficult to understand, but is a valid thought nevertheless.
Our emotions often get the better of us-- I know all too well the difficulty of managing them--but that's ok. We just need to remind ourselves that we are the rulers of our minds and thoughts. We have the power to harness joy in every situation. (and so ends my anecdote...)
When I thought how best to describe Willhite's work, I wondered if her art subjects resonated with how they made me feel, and I researched their symbolism. Hummingbirds are seen as healers and bringers of love, good luck, and joy. Check. Scottish Gorse Flowers, (the process piece above, and the final piece below), are often associated with love and fertility (with the two flowers placed towards the other, I certainly grasp this vibe). Check.
I'm not sure if the symbolisms have anything to do with her choice of subject matter, but they really add a certain dynamic, a deeper appreciation perhaps, when gazing upon her work.
Earlier, when I described Willhite's style as being nothing but far from our previous artist, I didn't mean it harshly. In actuality, it was to reiterate the fact that artwork comes in many forms, and there is no "one way" to best create as an artist. It was to recognize and praise our differences.
Her works are very design orientated, with a clear subject matter placed delicately against a complementing minimalist background. Despite their simplicity, each work is very clearly thought out. Take the above piece, for example. Willhite added slight strokes of yellow to unify the flowers with the gray background. The background itself causes us to follow the work upwards as it lightens slightly from bottom to top. In her hummingbird piece, she placed pops of red and cream, almost in a triangular fashion, to surround the hummingbird, accomplishing balance and overall interest to the piece.
Deciding what category of art Willhite's works fall under began with what her work accomplishes in and of itself. I mentioned minimalism and well, according to Wikipedia, "minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design... where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials, or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features, or concepts."Seems about right.
Whatever the case be, I am utterly in love with such cute artistry. If you'd like to see more of Willhite's work and see what she's got cooking up (see Glowforge) follow the links below to her Etsy or Instagram accounts.
Thank you, Kara Willhite, for allowing me to share your work on my page. It was a pleasure speaking with you and learning about you and your artwork. I am beyond excited to see what you come up with as you expand the horizons of your art with the Glowforge. Your passion and love for art are evident. We need a little of your nirvana in this world.
Interested in Creating Your own Digital Designs?
--Willhite's materials and Program --