Who ART You? 04

I’m so excited to share the story about Katherine Corden!

Katherine Corden

Who ART You?

How did you grow up?
I grew up in a very creative household. My mom is an art teacher and has her BFA. My dad is also extremely creative. Together, the two of them have designed beautiful homes and often craft their own furniture and interior décor for the space. I was inspired on a daily basis in their home and was always encouraged to make things myself – of course their creative assistance was always available!

We spent most of our summers either retreating to our cottage in northern Michigan or traveling to new countries around the world. At an early age I was introduced to art galleries, unique cultures, and the glory that is the great outdoors. Looking back, it makes a lot of sense why I’m so enamored with fine art.

I became an artist because……
I’ve always felt that creating is part of my core being. I love the freedom that this lifestyle provides me and I feel fortunate that I’ve found such a supportive community that allows me to continue practicing art and am able to support my own family with this practice.

What brought you to art?
Like I mentioned, my mother is an art teacher. My parents got married and had my sister and I when they were fairly young and my Dad was still paying back tuition loans. We didn’t have a ton of money to buy video games or fancy toys (though my parents would have likely discouraged that regardless!) so we spent lots of time playing outside and we had LOTS of art supplies. My sister and I created something nearly everyday to keep us entertained while my mom was making dinner or working around the house. My parents entered me in my first art competition when I was 5! Like I said, it’s part of my core being.

Describe your favorite art piece that you had trouble letting go.
An art teacher once told me “nothing is precious”. You need to get comfortable letting artwork go – whether that’s selling it or scrapping it! I’ve really gotten comfortable selling my work; it’s necessary after all!

If you could come back and live as any artist, (alive or dead) who would it be & why?
Oh gosh. I always get uncomfortable with this sort of question. I wouldn’t want to switch places with anyone because I truly love the life I have, but if I could be friends with any artist alive or dead and experience the time period they are from, it would definitely be Monet. To live in France and be apart of such a revolutionary movement?! Plus, I can only imagine studying with him – his use of color and movement in brush strokes is something that inspires my own work.

Who, what influences your art?
I feel this is constantly changing, but a common thread in many of my pieces is the spirit of northern Michigan. Whether that is the lakes, the colors of the seasons, or the people who enjoy the land up there, you’ll frequently see feelings of that region in my work.

What has art taught you?
Patience. In my own studio practice especially, the under painting is never very pleasing to the eye. The final stages are when it really comes together. I still struggle with patience. I paint with acrylics specifically because of my short attention span! One day I’ll have to challenge myself with oils, that will really test my patience.

Favorite/best resources as an artist?
Honestly, Shanna Skidmore’s blueprint model changed everything for me. It’s basically business school for creatives. I don’t even want to think about all the years of trial and error and money I’ve saved by investing in her mentorship!

What becomes a magical instrument in your hands?
My neo crayons I sometimes use to add dimension to my paintings! I grew up drawing, and painting came later, so I love adding in finer details with playful instruments like crayons.

What medium do you use? Why?
Acrylic paint – short attention span!

What is your favorite subject matter?
I’ve always loved the human figure – it challenges me and I love the dimension of values it provides. However, landscapes and flowers are much easier and relaxing for me to paint!

What are you still hoping to learn?
I would love to learn how to bring oil paints into my practice one day – though I would want to find non-toxic materials if possible!

When I think of art, I ………….
Feel inspired, energized and content!

How do life, business, creativity and art intersect?
How do they not intersect!? I often find inspiration in my daily life. I still work from home, so I need to consciously set boundaries between my business and home life, but in reality they all tend to blend together. Sometimes this can be a beautiful thing, and sometimes it can be sensory overload!

A defining moment in my life was when………..
I married my husband this past August. He has brought so much joy into my life and challenges me to be a better person on a daily basis. He is above and beyond supportive of my work and me – I can’t imagine having the courage to pursue this career without him by my side.

Best advice I ever got about art or being an artist was……..
I feel like I’m repeating myself here a lot… but my favorite advice is “nothing is precious!” 

Do you have a ritual or practice any creative activities before you make art? If so, what is it?
I really savor my slow mornings. They are one of my favorite things about being my own boss – having the time in the morning to slowly wake up, drink my coffee, talk to my husband, and read a couple pages from my current book. I then tidy up a bit and clean the dishes. For whatever reason, having a physically clean space allows more room for me to make a mess in my studio!

Is there a quote that inspires you or that you try to live your life by?
We can be mothers who speak passionately about art, and we can be artists who speak passionately about motherhood. We can be both, and we can be gray.” – Erin Loechner

I’m not a mother (yet) but I love what these words symbolize and how you can apply them to different areas of your life. Though I’ve practiced art all my life, I went a very traditional route in school and studied physical therapy. In the beginning of my art career I was also working full time as a PT. I still work occasionally as a PT too. These words just feel like a warm blanket wrapping me up – we can be both, and we can be gray. And that’s okay.

Is there anything new you are planning to introduce in the future?
This March I will be launching an exclusive collection of 15 paintings through my dear friend Megan’s curated online shop: shop.freshexchange.com . The works will feature candid conversations around the dinner table – a combination of figures and still lifes. I’ll be in good company with many other northern Michigan artists who all celebrate the land up there and do so in the most ethical and environmentally conscious way possible.

Name: Katherine Corden Bellisario
Website: http://www.katherinecorden.com
IG: @katherinecorden.art
FB: http://www.facebook.com/katherinecordenart

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