Seven Sisters Gallery is excited to welcome our newest artist, contemporary painter Niki Lunn. I asked Niki to talk a little bit about her thoughts on creativity, and her life as an artist.
Personally, I think that creativity resides in all of us. Perhaps some more than others, but unfortunately with the current education system that has evolved over hundreds of years in Europe and now the United States it is apparent to me that most artists had to fight against the system to remain creative as it is often the tide to ʻeducateʼ it right out of us.
Sadly, many talented children have not been rewarded for their free thinking artistic leanings, but rather persuaded over the years to postpone the urge to just go and paint, or write, or dance in order to follow a ʻmore reasonableʼ money making career.
My education was started in Yorkshire, England where I was born and moved into the U.S. system later on in High School and University. It was typical in the way that most of my classes and teachers praised efforts in the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic equally in both countries. The pressure was always to ʻfit inʼ, make the grade and focus on a related career. My H.S. counselor told me after standardized tests that I was most likely to become a successful legal secretary. That was a shock for me and certainly not something I had any interest in, so I majored in a B.of Fine Art and Art History in college and of course minored in something ʻuseableʼ for later on- marketing. After graduating I taught art for some years in the Michigan public system and later on in the Florida schools, always to find that at the end of every year I was in the principalʼs office hearing the words that funding had been cut and art and music were the first to go. But what I learned during this period of my life was important and I found myself going back to school to earn a M.S. in Psychology and Counseling. I wanted to help kids at a crucial stage in their educational development to really realize their dreams at an earlier stage than I did.
After another eight years in counseling I changed course again and did finally go into marketing and public relations. I was nearing the goal of incorporating artistic talents into an everyday job. Happily this led to creating my own company doing marketing for ʻadventure travelʼ companies. Suddenly everything changed and I was the one in control. I never worked in an office again and started traveling around the world doing what I loved- creative writing about adventurous, fun things to do in nature.
After meeting my husband, a private yacht captain, we traveled together throughout Europe and to many fascinating places that I would never have probably ventured to as a legal secretary! Throughout the last 24 years I have never lost my interest in art, if anything it was reaffirmed in every new location that I visited, seeing the art museums and their bounty of beautiful art collections as a perfect mirror to the culture that they represented.
Light has played an integral role in many of my pieces. It is true that the impressionists became my favorite genre of painting while I lived in France, it is easy to see why they painted the way that they did with that soft mellow light playing amid their landscapes. It influenced my work as well. When in harsher light such as the Greek islands my colours became stronger and painting style more bold.
When I am not painting, I tend to be walking in nature since it is there that I find inspiration. Somehow it speaks to me in a universal language unhindered by borders or words and offers an unlimited range of colours and meanings to the eye of the beholder. As far as my own colour palette I like to use a rich combination of bright hues, trying to catch on canvas a glimpse of what nature offers us as a visual feast of happiness everyday.
My favorite painting is always the next one that I am going to paint. I typically work at home, taking the ideas from memory and photos I may have taken to remind me of shapes and movements in nature that I liked. Although I did take a B.F.A in university, I can honestly say that it has been through trial and error and perseverance that has found me at where I am now. I am still learning and think that I always will be.
I know that if you let the spirit move you then your inner talent will emerge, whether be it in dance, creative writing or producing a painting.
Niki will be showing her work at Seven Sisters Gallery in Morro Bay, beginning with her opening reception at Art Walk Friday, June 14 from 5:00-8:00. Stop by to meet the artist, see her work and enjoy music and refreshments.