Artist Lynda Baxter - AIC Interview

Lynda Baxter is the founder and owner of Art In Canada, and has just recently dusted off her paper and unpacked her boxes of watercolour art supplies. She's excited to start painting again and is going back to the basics, to practice watercolour techniques and to enjoy 'her time' away from the computer and the barn, and just be able to create and start over with a passion that has been with her for as long as she can remember.

Lynda lives on a ranch in Southern Alberta. Land of open spaces and big skies. Everywhere she looks gets her creativity going. Her long term goal is to venture to the barn and paint their quarter horses. Each one has such a personality, and because they've bred and raised them, Lynda hopes to catch their unique personalities, and the final goal will be that her husband Greg will recognize them as soon as he sees their painting!

Question:
When did you realize you had the need to create and develop your skills?
Answer:
I've always loved to draw. My mom has saved some of the pictures I drew when I was young for the last 48 years or so, bless her soul. It's fun to look back at them. I even remember doing a few of them. Painting was a scary step... adding colour in general was a big step for me. I had an art teacher who encouraged me in high school to step out of my comfort zone. (You have to love teachers like this...) she asked me to try pencil crayon. From there, I went straight to watercolour and never really had a desire to try any other medium except for watercolour, which I'm just now getting back into. I've always been creative, lucky I have a partnership in Chix Design that allows me to be creative on a daily basis. I think having an art loving background really helps in my day to day life.

Question:
How do you know when your art is complete?
Answer:
I generally don't. I think I stop either too soon, not putting those necessary last bits of darks in, or I overdo it completely! I'm working on this.

Question:
Where do you gather your inspiration from?
Answer:
I see colour where ever I go. I name them. It drives who ever is in the car with me crazy. I love seeing old buildings along the road, or old abandoned vehicles. I go out of my way to find them actually, and take pictures for future reference.

Question:
Where do you typically create art?
Answer:
I used to paint on the floor. I've grown up a bit since then... or just realized it's getting harder to get up from the floor, and I now paint on the dining room table. I can leave everything out and have zero excuse not to paint something every day.

Question:
Right now, what is your medium of choice and what is your favourite subject matter?
Answer:
Watercolour is my preferred medium. I also like soft chalk pastels, and want to start back with pencil crayons, but for now I'll carry on with what I started out with in the early 80's and see how much I remember!

Question:
All artists at all stages of their career want to try something new, what other medium or subject matter do you see yourself experimenting with?
Answer:
I've been asking my mom to show me how to use oil paints. Now that I've said it publicly, she might feel obligated to teach me! Ha. Sorry mom.

Question:
Continuing education, do you partake and if so what did you learn?
Answer:
I've taken workshops over the years. Now with the internet, I like being able to look up a technique and having an instant answer. That doesn't replace workshops and learning in a group setting though. Generally I don't like to paint in front of people, but I love attending the workshops and watching others paint. I think that's the best way to learn.

Question:
Have you ever taught a class or done an artist talk? If so, what did you talk about or teach? Can people sign up for your workshops and how?
Answer:
I did teach some classes in a VERY small town many years ago for lack of having any other teacher choices. It was great fun to be able to show others some techniques I had learned and to be in a group setting with some very talented people.

Question:
Have you ever painted en plein air? What was the biggest hurdle for you? Environmental challenges, wildlife, people, weather?
Answer:
I've thought about it, but then I started to think about spiders (Swan Hills Alberta had a huge selection of large hairy ones which left me not wanting to encounter them while I was supposed to be out enjoying myself.) There was also the concern of bears. Now that I'm in Southern Alberta, I'd like to try some plein air. It's pretty windy down here, I think that would be my biggest challenge, having my paint dry too quickly.

Question:
Do you do commissions? If so, what is your process?
Answer:
N/A

Question:
What is your favourite art related quote?
Answer:
I'm not sure if it's art related or just life related, but one of my favourite quotes is: "If you want something, do something to make it happen."

Question:
Do you have a favourite artist and what do you like about their art? Have you ever met them?
Answer:
I've met and worked with around 300 artists since 1999. I've loved everyone of them for all kinds of various reasons! There are so many talented artists out there, and so many daring artists who try new things and lead the way. They are all very inspiring to me, and I've been fortunate to meet and become friends with so many.

Question:
Did they inspire you to pursue a career as a professional artist?
Answer:
My thoughts have always been I'd never be good enough to be a professional artist... that's why I began marketing artists on the Internet. It was my way of staying in the industry, and surrounding myself with creative, like minded people. It's fun for me to help other artists achieve their goals, and to see them successfully marketing and selling their work.

Question:
What is most challenging to you when starting a new project?
Answer:
Because I'm starting over again with the basics, nothing scares me at this point. It's all fun, and it's the highlight of my day when I see my paper waiting for paint. I'm making it a point not to try to be perfect, or expect any great results or a frame-able piece of art. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself. It was almost paralyzing to a point I didn't know how to start. Or I'd sketch in a difficult subject and then be afraid I'd ruin the painting of it. Those days are gone. I'm older, more patient and kinder to myself. I want to enjoy 'my time' and not be frustrated or disappointed with results that don't live up to my (past) expectations.

Question:
What advice would you give to an artist starting out?
Answer:
Have fun! Find what you love to paint or sculpt and keep at it. No one gets good at anything unless you try, and practice. When you think you've failed at a piece, learn from it and move on. You'll only grow and get better.

Question:
What keeps you going forward with your art in this very competitive industry?
Answer:
Because I'm not competing in it, I just have fun doing my own thing. Even those who are selling in this very competitive industry, don't lose heart. Keep painting or creating because it's what you love to do.

Question:
In your studio, right now, what is your most important tool that you would be lost without?
Answer:
Paper towel!

Question:
What is your favourite piece of work you have created, thus far?
Answer:
I did a ship in rough waves many years ago. I sold it. I've always wished I had kept it. I suppose I can give that one another go again, once I've practiced my techniques some more.

Question:
What is the most well received piece of art you have created?
Answer:
I entered a large watercolour in an art show in Swift Current one year. It won people's choice award. That was exciting!

Question:
Do you have a favourite gallery or museum that you visit?
Answer:
I love visiting websites for individual artists and for art galleries and art groups. We live in the country and it's not convenient to visit galleries in person. I'd like to start going to more art shows, and really love to go to the Calgary Stampede Western Salon every year. There is so much talent there it's mind boggling.