Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Feature Artist: Lynn Richards

I have been creating ever since I can remember. When I was little, i would sit with my grandmother, who was an artist, and learn to make washes with water color, mold clay into animal shapes, and when with her I would be surrounded with the smell of paper, brushes, paint and clay. Combined with the ocean breeze, it was sheer heaven, a place of tranquility where I always knew I was safe.
Throughout school, art was always my favorite class. I was always at home in the art room whether in high school or jr. college.  In all my journals as I grew up, I would sketch as well as write. I longed to be an artist.
Hi Lynn....Thank you so much for being this week's Friday Feature Artist.  Part of my mission with my art and blog (and soon to be website) is to highlight the importance of art for healing and wellness.  After hearing stories of your journey as an artist, mother, daughter, and individual I just had to feature you here because I know others will read something that will help and inspire them in their here we go....

Can you tell us about your journey to become an artist?
When I was younger, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with college, my desire was to go to art school, but my mother told me no way. (even though or maybe because my grandmother was an artist.) Her advice was to learn to work with computers. My act of rebellion was to drop out of college and work for Ralph's grocery store. But I never stopped taking classes here and there. The first plunge began about  six years ago, when I began taking art lessons from a wonderful couple at our community art gallery. Ted and his wife, JoAnne were the first people to push me into doing consistent work, more and more painting, and entering different shows. The more I did, the more I fell in love first with acrylics, then with mixed media.  The real plunge began when I came back from a weekend away and my husband surprised me by taking out his office from our spare room and making it into my very own art room. He is my biggest encourager, and wants me to become the artist I am called to be. He makes me laugh-he thinks it's sexy to be married to an artist! (Can I say that here???) (Um, yes you can;)

What is it you love about mixed media art?

Oh, what's NOT to love?? I love the movement that a mixed-media piece can have, the emotion that can come through the substrate, and that for me, something old can have great significance, even if it's a small part of the canvas.

Can you tell us a little bit about your process of creating art?  Do you start with an emotion? A complete plan? Or spontaneous use of color and materials?
I begin a piece because of what I am going through at the time. A struggle with emotion, watching a friend go through a hard time, my own questions about raising a handicapped child, or the beauty I see through her eyes. It can begin as a prayer, come from a song or a line in a book that takes my breath away. It's always very heartfelt. After that, I plan out more: color, position, etc.

I saw that you have done some art festivals, do you have any advice for setting up and running a successful booth?
Holy moly. There is nothing harder to me than the crowd at an art show. I have had people connect with my artwork and snap it up off the table, and I have had two women walk by and the first woman said, "do you like this?" and the second one took one look at my table and said, "naaaaaah." And walked away.   That said, the first advice I would give is to develop a thick skin. Love what you do, because someone else will as well.  Have someone be with you to help with money, set up, wrapping sales. There is so much emotion that goes out of you when you put your art work out in the world this way, it's easy to get flustered if you are working the booth by yourself.   Plus, if you have to go to the bathroom, it's nice to have someone that you trust to leave your booth to.  Display is so important!!!!!! Use unique ways to display your artwork-I've dragged pieces of furniture from my living room to hang art from, used antique boxes, old photos for price tags, fun wrapping or bags for purchased items. It all counts.  Make sure you have change and a nice smile on your face for everyone. Don't hesitate to say hello to people that walk by your booth.  Last but not least, have someone make dinner for you when you get home!!
I know your mom died recently, I am so sorry, can you tell us how Art has helped you through the grieving process and do you have any suggested activities for getting through the grief process?
Thanks, Harmony.  Grief is a tough subject. I'm learning it is so unique to each individual. For me, my artwork has been a way to get quiet and think, a way to escape, a way to remember.   Activities getting through the process? Well, for me, it's not been such a sad process. There has been a lot of anger, as my mother was a fairly "complicated" person. I do grieve what never was or could be. I am executor of the estate and that is an exhausting job. I love, love, love that I have my artwork scheduled into my week as well as time to work on paying bills and cleaning out the house. MAKE TIME for art. Write down all the yucky things and paint over it if you need to. Write it down on a piece of paper and then burn it. Look for something beautiful in whatever art work you do. Share it. Pray as you work. Cry over it, do art with children. Even if you feel you just don't have anything in you to create for a while, try something small- a photograph, painting pages black, sitting in Barnes and Noble looking at art books.
Have there been other times in your life that art has helped to promote health and wellness?
Oh, yes!!! When my eldest daughter was in 6th grade and girls were being their nasty, hormonal selves, I set up a "craft club" where every girl was welcome to participate and they could be in a room together and play NICE.  I've also worked with my youngest daughter's special ed. class in different ways-playing with glitter, cutting snowflakes, stamping, painting, even learning to grout seashells into a planter. It's so fun to watch these kids experience different emotions through feeling paint, glue, etc. and working together.  When my girls were growing up, our home was always the place to come and create. You should see our garage floor! I've had beads and paint and glue and paper and wood and you name it all over my house-inside and out. It was the BEST. I'm proud to say that my eldest daughter is pursuing a degree in Art Therapy. How cool is that?
And of'course last but not least.....What do you know to be true????
A couple of things right now-
It's always good to look, really look into your children's eyes. Tell your husband you love him, a lot. Pray. People and relationships. THAT's what matters in this life. Not the stuff.
Thank you so much Lynn!!!  You have such a beautiful family and I sincerely appreciate your openness about working with your grief over your mother's death.  I know you you have given readers insight about logistical matters such as setting up an art booth as well as insightmatters of the heart.
To learn more about Lynn and her beautiful artwork please visit her blog here:
Leave some love in the comments if you are so inclined and have a fabulous weekend.

Be Well, Harmony


  1. What a great post, Harmony! So glad to meet Lynn this way. Love her style!

  2. I loved this! Thank you for sharing- I'm going to visit her blog right now.

  3. This is my first time here, I follow Lynn.
    this interview was amazing!
    I love that I have gotten to meet Lynn in person and she is everything this interview gives. Her work speaks from the heart
    What a great way to work thru stress and problems, love her techniques!
    Just think if all the world leaders would paint their problems out instead of acting in to war.
    Gives us all something to think about.

  4. Lynn is absolutely one of the kindest, most real people I know.
    Just love her.
    And her art!

  5. Loved meeting Lynn. It is wonderful that she has given her daughter the wings to fly and do what she wants with her life. I would like to try out the idea of writing feelings down and then painting over them. Fabulous ideas. Great interview. Keep it up, I look forward to reading them every week.

  6. I value the wisdom of life that Lynn shared in this interview. I love that Lynn "rebelled" at a young age against parental "advice" and then continued to pursue what felt strongest within. Listening to instincts and following through can lead us to some of the best places. I applaud Lynn for doing that and for being such a role model for her children. Obviously a great deal of Lynn's life philosophy has encouraged her children to embrace life. Her first born deciding to become an art therapist? The proof is in the pudding. Thank you for introducing us to Lynn and her wonderful family. Oh her art? That goes without saying -- I love it!

  7. fabulous....thank you for sharing another amazing, inspiring artist and woman!

  8. What a fabulous interview.. I just adore Lynn.. The very first time I visited her blog I was in tears.. But most of the time she just cracks me up. She has such a great heart.

    Hugs, Linda