An interview with the artist

Visiting Artist Open House And Local Podcast Invitation

Last week, the local real estate office of Lenihan Sotheby's International Realty held a Visiting Artist Open House, and I was the invited artist!  As part of their Open House, they also invited me to participate in a podcast episode</a> that was published just a few days before the opening reception.  Below is a short summary of my discussion with the host...


Britany Baker is one of the local artists exhibited here at the Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty office located at 3803 Brownsboro Road in St. Matthews. For her LSIR Open House event on Thursday, she is bringing 30-40 pieces of two-dimensional art. In the past, she has done art shows that were all black-and-white charcoals or other art shows that were all colorful, abstract oil paintings. This show is a mix of the different directions she has taken in the past. She likes charcoal, she says, because it is “more controlled,” but she likes splashing around with white oil paint for something a little more real. Watercolors are typically more of her comfort zone, but she is always exploring.

As a medium, “oils are really hard,” Baker explains. “You go to mix the white paint in, and everything just, it does these things that didn’t seem predictable to me, and I didn’t understand it.” For instance, when you blend Payne’s Grey and White, you might get a dull blue instead of a lighter shade of gray as you’d guess. The more she worked with oil, the more she discovered how to create the paintings she sees. In a class with Claudia Hammer, she learned the importance of starting with off-white canvas and that it was best to add whites last – as opposed to charcoal where whites come first.

Some artists seemingly create effortlessly – like second nature – but Baker doesn’t feel that way. “I feel like what I do is not quite what they do,” she laughs. Like drawing with a ballpoint pen, there isn’t always a “do over” when you’re working with something like oil, Baker adds. “Every mark you make lives its whole life there, so you have to get in this meditative state, you have to deal with every decision you made, because they’re all going to be there, and you have to risk just ruining it and chucking it.”

Charcoal requires a very different technique. Baker hits a piece of paper with water to preserve white space and then sprinkles charcoal powder down. Then she hits it again with water. “How you hit it, with how much water, the distance, the angle, the amount – it will all get you different effects.” What she likes about the medium is how organic everything is. “You call tell they happened, rather than I sat there and drew that splash,” she explains. Once the art dries, she takes a brush coated in “charcoal powder slurry” (charcoal mixed with water) and adds layers of detail. Sometimes she goes in with pencils.

Ultimately, Baker loves when people fall in-love with her pieces and claim it as their own. Even though she is parting with a piece of herself, it’s the ultimate compliment for someone to decorate their home or business with her work, essentially saying: “This is me. This says who I am.”

People who are interested in seeing how professional art comes together can schedule an appointment at Britany Baker’s studio space on the edge of Schnitzelburg on Shelby Street.