6 Questions with Lynn Whipple
I first met Lynn at a writing workshop years ago. At the time, I didn’t realize she was an artist. I just thought she was a seriously talented writer. Later, as I was wandering aimlessly through an art show, I stumbled across her booth, and was completely blown away. She paints with a fearless creativity that draws you in and makes you smile.
On to the questions!
Being a successful artist is a dream of so many people… Is there a skill (or set of skills) that a person needs to develop to reach that goal? What would you suggest an aspiring artist work on?
Find the fun, and start there. 😊When I start a painting, drawing or collage, I jump right in to the part that excites me the most. Once my hands are moving and I have put down some color or some marks, I have something to respond to, and then the conversation and play begin. There is a back and forth on each piece, a fearless expression of energy and then an editing process.
Working on several pieces at once will gives us a place to go when we get stuck. Being curious and approaching everything as if it’s not precious sure helps! I try to remember that each step is only a layer.
When I sit down to write, I do it with a stack of cookies next to the keyboard and music on the stereo. Could you describe your artistic process a bit? Do you have a dedicated space where you go to paint? Do you listen to music?
Mmmmm! Cookies! 😊🍪
I love to paint and draw outside if possible. I have a little Art Fort in our backyard, with easels and tables to work under the trees. I light several sticks of incense to start and turn up dance music.
Next, I pull out large canvases and work on 2-3 at a time. Smaller pieces I do at the table. I sling paint, spin the canvas, spatter things, draw, drip, and generally make a playful mess. Daisy, our golden retriever, is my beloved painting buddy.
How about the biggest challenges that you face as an artist? Is there a moment during the process that you dread, or something that you know is a barrier for you? How do you get through it?
The great thing about working in layers and on several pieces, is that you can keep moving. If I feel stalled, I have learned not to force it, and simply move to another piece. There is a lot of editing and covering things up as well. I nudge each painting forward and wait for that excited feeling when I know they are finished.
Do you have any fun (or funny) stories about showing or teaching art? Any interactions that you can share?
Oh my gosh! So many funny interactions! When I teach I don’t allow any “nice” brushes until the final touches. Most folks can’t stand my crappy hardware store brushes because they are hard to control and awkward. We joke the whole workshop time about how cruel I am to force them to use cheap, throwaway brushes. But in the end, they get loose and fresh paintings, and then they love those crappy brushes.
Is there a moment during your process that you always look forward to? A “this is why I do this” experience?
Yes!!! Lots of moments! The amazing way a cool color will visually zing when put next to a warm color. I love the feeling of moving and putting your entire body into making a painting. The immediacy and freedom of speed drawing with charcoal, using both hands.
I adore the moment when I know a painting is done! I can hear myself say YES out loud and then I do a little dance! And finally, the joy of rushing in to sign the finished painting.
I always end with the same question. What’s next? Do you have any new projects you can tell us about?
Sure! I’ve started a series of very large abstracts that is super exciting to my brain, so there will be more of those!
Also, I have been gathering and organizing ideas for a book about joyful creativity and playful living.
Thank you so much Pat! I am a big fan of yours and am honored to be a part of this series!