Meet Kristin Miller (@forestfoxart)
Spellbinding skies and soft, happy trees are this artist’s bread and butter! Canadian watercolor artist Kristin Miller @forestfoxart discusses watercolor techniques and the inspirations to her gentle, folklore-inspired nature art in her interview for the Bee Paper blog.
You are a landscape photographer, in addition to being a watercolor artist. How do these two mediums go together in your work?
I have always been interested in art. I was painting and drawing long before I started taking photos, although photography has been really helpful with my watercolor journey. It’s provided me with endless materials for recreation, learning and inspiration. It’s also a great excuse to get out and find new and inspiring places to paint.
What draws you to watercolor over other mediums?
Initially, I was looking for a medium that was easy clean up and set up, which quickly led me to try watercolors. I really fell in love with them. They are challenging and often unpredictable, which is another reason why this medium is so interesting to me. No two paintings are ever the same. From consistent practice, you learn to have some control over the water and paint, but the mixing of the two always make for new and interesting variations in the end.
Do you have any artists who have inspired your artistic style?
Lily Seika Jones of @rivuletpaper is a big inspiration. I love her take on classic stories and fairytales such as The Last Unicorn and The Never-ending Story. The muted tones and colors she uses remind me of some of my favorite illustrations from childhood stories. Stephanie Law of @spmlaw is another inspiration. I love her use of fantasy and nature throughout her work. She also uses vibrant colors, and a variety of mediums, such as watercolor with gold leaf.
How has your love of fantasy and folklore novels influenced your artistic style?
I have always loved the colorful and fantastic worlds in many fantasy and folklore stories. When I started painting, I wanted to create my own places that someone would want to walk right into and explore.
In addition to being inspired by fantasy literature, you tell us that the surrounding forests, lakes and mountains of northern Ontario, where you live, are monumentally inspiring to your work. What are your favorite aspects of nature to paint and why?
Currently, I’m really into painting landscapes with mountains, trees and shorelines. I love going out for walks and hikes in the forest, near rivers and lakes. Visiting these places is very inspiring for my work and a great way to connect with all the beautiful nature here.
Favorite Bee Paper product and why?
The Bee Creative Watercolor Art Journal is my favorite. The high-quality cotton paper and convenience of everything being bound into a single sketchbook makes this paper great for taking with you for any outdoor painting, or for planning paintings on loose paper. I do love that Watercolor art journal is available in 3 different sizes, including a square shape. Also, the perforated pages make it easy to remove paintings when you are finished with them.
What is your strategy for building those spellbinding galactic color palettes for your nature paintings?
Lots and lots of layers. This is the key to making a vibrant galaxy painting: You build up the painting with thin layers of color, always allowing the previous one to dry first. This avoids ruining what you’ve already painted underneath. This method lets you create some interesting textures, and really pops out the colors.
What have been the greatest challenge in your artistic journey?
The greatest challenge for me has definitely been putting my art out there for people to see. I am a fairly shy person, and my own worst critic. However, the art community has been very welcoming and is full of talented and amazing artists. It’s been a lot of fun, and a great learning experience being able to interact with everyone.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to try watercolor for the first time?
The best advice I could give would be to practice. Paint a little bit every day, look for tutorials and lessons from other artists. Also, if you want to improve your skills in a certain area, for example, landscapes, then paint trees, mountains, lakes, anything associated with landscapes over and over. You will see yourself improve with every painting and soon find your own unique style.