Our Roving Reporter Ginny Brennan interviews Flootie artist Vicki West – Water Media Artist – Watercolor / Acrylic painter, Muralist and Teacher, Spokane, WA You can view more of Vicki West’s works HERE
Current member of the Spokane Watercolor Society and past president of two years honored with life member status.
Ginny: Who Are You and what do you do?
Vicki: A water media artist, designer, teacher, wife, mother, grandmother, cheerleader, spiritual human. My life long passion for art and creativity in general has only been eclipsed by my inquiring mind and love of science and medicine.
Ginny: Why do you do what you do?
Vicki: I see things differently, I have a tendency to want what’s not on the menu….. It’s just something that has to come out, expressed in a visual emotional, yet tactile way.
Ginny: How do you work?
Vicki: Ideas and inspiration are all around but my own work is something that must be very personal and unique to me. It usually comes in fits and starts or a series may come pouring out all at once like an unstoppable volcanic flow until, months later, it’s finished and tells an amazing story or pictorial history for the viewer to experience as something new and totally foreign.
Ginny: What’s your background?
Vicki: I grew up in Spokane and my very first formal training was with a sweet oil painter by the name of Frances Bond who had a studio on North Monroe in Spokane. I took every class available in Jr. High and High School then off to college to pursue a completely different field but continued to paint with oils. Next came three years of figure drawing at Spokane Falls Community College, marriage and three children, fourteen years of full time work in the medical field then grandchildren. That’s when my love and fascination with watercolor began to emerge. I was consumed with continual class study at the Spokane Art School for many years along with many master classes and workshops around the area and because we (artists) all want to continue to learn and improve our craft, the learning experience will always be an important part of my life and work.
Ginny: What’s integral to the work of an artist?
Vicki: Integral? Hmmmm … space, time, peace, love and for me music. Only when all of these elements are present, do I feel complete enough to start something new or even get back into the studio.
Ginny: What role does the artist have in society?
Vicki: I would have to say that good art can bring joy to ANY space and lift or move the viewer in ways nothing else can do, be it in positive or negative ways thus emotionally influencing the world.
Ginny: How has your practice changed over time?
Vicki: I don’t feel that my love for realism has diminished over time, however, I DO enjoy painting really BIG AND LOOSE (spray bottle in hand!) every few months, usually acrylic on canvas at a large easel as opposed to seated at my worktable with paper and small brushes!
Ginny: What art do you most identify with?
Vicki: I love the masters, the impressionists although I could never identify with them. I mostly identify with realism, I guess.
Ginny: What work do you most enjoying doing?
Vicki: I most enjoy good architectural pieces, descriptive figurative paintings with some story-telling component or an interesting old implement or equipment with lots of history.
Ginny: What themes do you pursue?
Vicki: Pretty much the same as what I said what I enjoy doing, but I would also add that I love painting birch trees! I have done several 8 to 20 foot (latex) wall murals as well as large canvas pieces. Their simple elegance has always captivated me and each piece is uniquely different in color and content.
Ginny: What’s your favorite art work?
Vicki: My favorite art work, is one that pleases the viewer enough to commission a work for himself or says “we’re familiar with your work and must have this piece”!
Ginny: Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
Vicki: My greatest inspiration came about three years ago at the Shafer Historical Museum in Winthrop, WA., where on a gorgeous September morning a whole new series was born. Entitled, “Present Past” it became my greatest undertaking to date and featured much of the equipment brought from the mining cams and sawmills of the late 1800’s.
Ginny: What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Vicki: I did some modeling in college and for a couple of years after. I then became a bank teller for four years, then a full time student, a Mom, then a full time lab technician and medical assistant retiring in 2005 after 30 years of work that I dearly loved!
Ginny: What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Vicki: Tears of joy! I did a large canvas (24×72) for a dear couple commemorating their marriage and anniversary. Another is when a painting sells before the pigment is dry or in a frame! That’s always good.
Ginny: What do you like about your work?
Vicki: I love introducing the viewer to new and different subject matter, images they may never have considered “Art” before but have found something really exciting and thought provoking in my work.
Ginny: What is your dream project?
Vicki: Another important series is probably in my future but the inspiration and source material must come together for that to happen. I want it to be figuratively but that may or may not happen.
Ginny: Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
Vicki: There are many great artist that I aspire to paint like, but I also believe that each artist is unique and should not be placed in a box and because my work is always evolving, I emulate one artist one day and another the next!
Ginny: Favorite or inspirational place?
Vicki: In recent years, it’s been the beautiful Methow Valley in our own diverse Washington state. It’s all there; fascinating characters, the history, the gorgeous scenery and the wildlife!
Ginny: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Vicki: Don’t be afraid to fail, to start over, to enjoy or to try something new!
Ginny: Professionally what’s your goal?
Vicki: Always learning, improving and sharing my love of painting with the public in new and different ways. This year, I would like to get back into NWS and I’ll make my annual attempt at one of the major publications. I would also like to see some of my work published in one/all of the five Washington magazines that recently received press releases from Marie Kazalia, Art Critic with Artist Marketing Resources, regarding my work.
Ginny: Where is your art available to view?
Vicki: My work hangs in private homes across the United States
Winthrop Historical Museum – you can see my work in Winthrop
Spokane Studio Art Tour – My work is on display and for sale at this annual summer event
Spokane Watercolor Society – Juried/Member shows at the Spokane Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture
Auntie’s Bookstore Gallery, Spokane – February through June 2016
William Grant Galley in Kendall Yards, Spokane in June 2015
Private Appointments are available in my home studio/gallery – firstname.lastname@example.org
FaceBook – www.facebook.com/Vicki-A-West-239710696214879/
Website – flootie.com