In the Studio: Kirsten Todd

This month dot-art takes a peek into the life of artist member Kirsten Todd. Join us as we get to know more about Kirsten’s practice, her weird and wonderful painting habits and her passion for vibrancy and colour!

Which medium do you work with and what do you like about it specifically?

I work mainly in acrylics and acrylic inks, they’re versatile and the colours are bright, light and fast. Acrylic paint is also pliable and yet doesn’t have long drying times which is fantastic.

Describe your style of art:

My art is created intuitively with an expressionistic style. I enjoy watching ink run freely across my paintings creating uncontrolled paths of colour, I also love playing with colour creating bright and vibrant palettes. 

Can you talk us through your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just go straight in? How long do you spend on one piece? How do you know when it is finished?

When I create my portraits, I start off by painting an abstract background, using colour to create a bright and vibrant foundation for the portrait to be created on and within. After drawing up a guide of the portrait, I select certain colours from the background and start creating the figure, being selective as to what areas to leave as the background, and what colours to bring forward into the portrait. 

Creating an expressionistic illusion of colour and character, the portrait begins to emerge from the background, and I start to get a sense of a piece being complete. I usually take breaks away from my paintings and then review from a distance. Knowing when to stop is an art in itself! A piece usually takes me about 10-16 hours.

When did you begin your career in art? 

I have been painting since a young child and pursued my passion at art college where I studied graphic design and illustration. I have had a career in the design industry for 25 years all the while continuing to paint for pleasure. I have been focusing on painting professionally for 3 years, putting graphic design on the back burner as painting is the true passion that ignites my fire to create.

Who or what inspires your art?

My uncle was an artist and he was my inspiration, mentor and also one of my tutors at art college! I used to watch him work in his studio when I was a child and it always inspired me to get out my brushes, pens or paint and get creative with him. He is now one of my spirit guides since he passed and helps me paint. He was the one who told me to follow my passion and paint from the heart.

What is one of your favourite pieces that you have done and why? 

One of my favourite pieces is a portrait called Balance. The colourful background was split into two halves, light and dark, with the portrait emerging through the middle of the divide where the colours met. The use of metallic paint made the painting glow, I loved it! I put it online and it sold within 5 minutes,  I was obviously very happy about this but I missed not being able to enjoy it for a while!

What are you working on at the moment? 

I’m waiting for inspiration for my next piece to come to me. I have two large canvases in my studio to paint, once the background is down on those canvases the colours will help to determine the portraits that come next.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 

Don’t paint to order, paint from your heart and paint what you love!

What’s your most unusual artistic habit/strangest technique which you have learnt?

I often use bubble wrap on my abstracts… I think Artists have generally been labelled as unusual and quirky anyway, by our creative nature and using our creativity in weird and wonderful ways!

What are your favourite things to listen to whilst painting? If anything! 

I listen to Bonobo, Maribou State, chilled house and chilled Indian music when I paint.

Discover more original artwork from Kirsten Todd on our online shop!