Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Spotlight Series: Kay Flierl

We're only on our third artist spotlight of the summer, and already we are enjoying these so much! This week we are interviewing longtime GIFA artist Kay Flierl, whose painting career grew out of her love for illustration and design. If you don't already know her work, Kay paints mostly traditional landscapes, but also has a few abstracts that are currently in the gallery (shown below).

Happy Friday, and have a great 4th of July!!! 

GIFA:  How long have you been painting?

KF: Just over ten years. Gregg found me early in my career. In fact, she was the 2nd person to approach me about my work. I still remember the first time she came to my home. I was so nervous, but here we are ten years later and I'm so happy our relationship has continued…even thousands of miles apart.

GIFA: What inspired your transition from Landscape Design to painting, and do you find that your knowledge and experience in this field have influenced your painting?

KF: My degree in Landscape Design gave me drawing skills plus a strong knowledge of plants. I always enjoyed creating the illustrations more than anything else. Then after college, I became a graphic designer, by luck really. I enjoyed that tremendously, but painting was something I had always wanted to do. Once our 2nd child started school, I had the time to teach myself and experiment. In fact, it was the empty walls of our new home in Atlanta that made me give it a try. I don't think it would have been as easy to teach myself to paint without my education and graphic experience. I can't help but wonder what kind of critique my college professor would give me today.

GIFA:  What do love most about living on the West Coast?

KF: The ocean. No doubt about it. Second to that, is the beautiful light and warm weather. Let me just say, that it's far more pleasant to paint when your fingers aren't frozen. I also have access to an immense variety of terrain and material to paint in a short drive.

GIFA: Are you following any artists right now whose talent you admire?

KF: Anyone who knows me knows that I bounce back and forth between traditional plein air painting and abstract art. I am still on the quest to fuse both into a style of my own, so I tend to lean toward artists that have found a way to do that…Wolf Kahn, Roger Kuntz, Forrest Moses and Stuart Shils are a few. But recently, I was up in Sacramento to watch my daughter's rowing team and decided to see what was at the Crocker Museum. I walked in and saw an exhibition by Gregory Kondos. I didn't know who he was prior, but I was instantly in love with his work. The canvases were huge! And the blue. Wow. It was beautiful and so California. I came to learn he was influenced by the Bay Area Figuratives and Wayne Thiebaud, a good friend of his. You can definitely see the influence. As I left the exhibit, I was determined to get his book, "A Touch of Blue". only to find out the museum store was sold out. The gal said the boat had just arrived and they expected them at any time. I only had one day left before leaving for home, so I took a chance and stopped back in to see if they had arrived. Not only had they arrived, but Gregory Kondos himself was sitting there, signing each book. Talk about serendipity.

GIFA: You've gone on several "paintaways" with other artists - which was your favorite location, and why?

KF: I hear that word and I smile. What great memories. Memories of warm air, beautiful locations, the birds singing and the camaraderie of fellow painters. I have to admit that organizing the trips was a selfish endeavor. I wanted a valid reason to give my husband as he watched me head off to a beautiful destination while leaving him at home with the kids for a long week or weekend. But seriously, each trip was special in it's own way. I'd probably have to say Catalina Island and Morro Bay were favorites. Water and varied terrain combined with idyllic little towns and low population made them restorative gems for my soul.

GIFA: What are you working on now?

KF: After having spent the past month selling a house and moving, I am eager to put my Kondos inspiration to work. At the same time, I'm enjoying the summer warmth as I continue to paint "en plein air".

Kay sent us some photographs of herself on different "paintaway" journeys. It's so easy to see where her inspiration comes from! 

"Journey's 20," 30" by 40" on gallery wrap, $1200

"Journey's 28," 40" by 40" on gallery wrap, $1800
"Journey's 27," 36" by 36" on gallery wrap, $1200

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