“The artist’s vocation is to send light into the human heart.”
– Robert Schumann
This week’s creative interview features Katie Schermbeck. I truly love her work and her heart. Through the interview process I realized we are kindred spirits, sharing a passion for creativity, literature, and teaching. Although I wish I could be having coffee with her in North Carolina, our virtual conversations will have to suffice at the moment! I have admired her work on Instagram for a while and I’m so very happy to introduce her to you today!
I grew up in Apex, North Carolina & have lived in NC ever since. I attended Appalachian State University & majored in Communication with a minor in Religious Studies. From there, I joined Teach For America & began teaching HS English in Charlotte, NC. After my corps commitment ended, I moved to Greensboro, NC in order to enter the non-profit sector. I now work as a site-director for a small education-based non-profit that provides free tutoring services & enrichment classes for under-served students. However, all of that has nothing to do with my art – As you can see, life has taken me through multiple paths. I’m still not quite sure what I’m “meant” to be doing, but right now I’m enjoying sharing my art & continuing to explore what it means to be a creative.
I’m very proud to have been recently chosen as a featured artist in the Maker’s Movement’s first print issue coming January 2016 & to have my work featured through a collaboration with Studio Cultivate (Kathryn Godwin) for Ruffled blog. I love the energy that comes from collaborations & am always excited to work & dream with others!
How did you fall in love with painting?
In truth, I feel as though painting was an escape route & an act of desperation to be creative again. I fell in love with painting, because at the time that I found it, I was learning to find myself again. In that way, painting was a way for me to rediscover things that I enjoyed about my personality, with a new way to express them.
What is your favorite aspect of the painting medium?
I love the way that color is captured in paint and then watching how colors interact when they are mixed.
More practically, I love that painting allows room for error. Especially with acrylics, you can continue to cover a canvas until it looks the way you want it to.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I absolutely love the sky. I know that might sound juvenile or uninspired, but I am completely & continually captivated by the vastness of the sky. Each time I look up, I am reminded of my Creator & immediately feel enveloped.
I also am a lover of quotes. Here are a few that represent little pieces of my heart.
1. “The artist’s vocation is to send light into the human heart.” – Robert Schumann
2 “Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.” -Bob Goff
3. “Once, Picasso was asked what his paintings meant. He said, “Do you ever know what the birds are singing? You don’t. But you listen to them anyway.” So, sometimes with art, it is important just to look.” – Marina Abramovic
What are your favorite color palettes to work with?
I love working with deep blues, greens, & gold. I work with incredibly rich & vibrant colors, but balance with a lot of intentional white space.
When you start a new piece do you begin with an idea/concept you want to express, or do you come to the canvas without a piece in mind? Please describe your process.
My creation process is continuous and constantly evolving. My process of building shapes & colors is reckless at first with large sweeps of color and then slows to create detail & definition. I sometimes begin with an idea or emotion that I want to convey (or one that is given to me by a client) and other times, I come to the canvas completely void & allow the paint to just be color, & develop the emotion afterwards.
What do you learn about yourself through painting?
I learn that I am same parts timid & brave. Painting can make me feel so alive & confident, and then at other times, I fall back into negative tendencies & trends of comparison. With anything creative, there is a cyclical process of assurance. There’s a quote that I feel expresses this idea better. “Being an artist means forever healing your own wounds and at the same time, endlessly exposing them.” – Annette Messager.
What is your ideal Saturday?
My ideal Saturday begins slowly, but potentially earlier than most. I hate waking up, but I LOVE being awake in the morning (strange, huh?). Therefore, I love it when I can naturally wake up with or just before the sun. From there, I’d roll over & squeeze my sweet husband & then let him sleep for a bit more. I’d start our coffee & just sit and enjoy being awake while everything is still quiet & calm. After husband is up, we’d go to brunch & enjoy the rest of our day being together, both doing things that we love & planning the week ahead. My ideal days always involve slowing down & taking in everything around me with people that I love.