Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Featured Artist - Vonny K.

Vonny Kaus is our newest inductee into my Featured Artist Club. She hails from Brisbane Queensland, Australia and is a truly talented and mostly self taught artist. I first met Vonny through my Artist's Play Room weekly Challenge. She joined one week when we were doing word art, I think. I went to her blog and saw her sweet Zentangled fish with "VONNY" splashed across it, also in Zentangles. I smiled because I loved the funny fish with his swishy tail. I then began perusing her blog and stopped short about half way down. Vonny had painted a parrot. Under the spectacularly realistic painting it said "My Boy Charlie". Well, she had instantly made a friend in that moment.

Her Boy Charlie
Several months earlier, when we moved to Nanaimo I was forced to find a new loving home for my beloved Berkley (my sweet little Timneh African Grey parrot). Over the years I had become more and more allergic to her dust (from her feathers) and I was now in a health crisis with my breathing. Seeing Charlie and seeing the words "My Boy" made me know she was the same kind of person as I was. There are dog people and cat people and bird people, we all love our pets but we're all kinda different from one another too. A parrot person was my kind of person! Let me also add that her art made me want to know Vonny even more and I hadn't even really "met" her yet!!

As I perused her blog over the weeks of her joining my APR I found myself transfixed by her use of light and shadow. Her talent was overwhelming and then to find out that she was self taught just like me was a revelation. It always amazes me the talent one can possess deep within and all we need to do is find the right venue to access it. Obviously Vonny has found her calling! 

Here's the interview I did with her, she happily answered all my questions. I'm thrilled to let you into Vonny's artistic world.
Vonny loves to paint undersea beauty.Her fish are so realistic,
I want to reach through and touch them.
Jenn: How did you get started making art?

Vonny: I have loved to draw and colour since I could hold a pencil. I had the best drawings in my school assignments but never many words and my books were covered in doodles. At school I never took art as I loved science and you couldn't do both, plus girls were not allowed to do technical drawing in my day (no, it wasn't that long ago). I really started painting after the birth of my last child 11 years ago. As I was getting on a bit I decided to close my book keeping business and be a full time mum.

My art has evolved from a lot of trial and error, mostly error, as I have no idea what is right or wrong or what techniques to use. I used to paint in oils but the family complained about the smell and being the impatient person I am, I felt it took too long to dry. I did some art classes in acrylic painting (now my preferred medium) a few years ago and learned a lot from them. I have to say the person who has helped and guided me the most is Tracey Fletcher King. We have known each other for a few years now and she is always happy to help me when I can't do something. It was Tracey who got me into blogging. Since starting my blog last year, I have learned so much from the other wonderful people online and the weekly challenges have made me get in and try things I normally wouldn't have, which has resulted in a vast improvement in my art. I have started trying mixed media/collage, without much success I might add. I just wasn't meant to wield scissors and glue.

Jenn: Do you sell your work, where? If not, what are your plans and why don't you?

Vonny: I do try to sell my work. My most successful place to sell paintings is at a local art show that I enter every year. I have sold at everyone of the shows so far. I also have some original paintings, cards and polymer clay brooches for sale in a local shop, called The Collective Store. I have tried online with a site called madeit.com.au but never had any success there. Etsy would be my next area to try. When I have a number of prints and small but bright watercolours available, I plan to put them along with cards, bookmarks and my polymer clay brooches online. That may be later in the year or next year. (Update: Vonny has now opened her Etsy store since this interview was concluded. Please visit her there to purchase her beautiful art & Jewellery and whimsical bookmarks.)

Jenn: What is your process of creation?

Vonny: I am not the sort of person who can look at something and paint it, mainly because I haven't really tried. I prefer to decide on a theme and then search for photos of what I want. I could use four or five different photos and put them together on photoshop, then using the pictures as a guide I do my own thing.I like to mull over an idea for a few days before doing anything concrete as it seems to grow in my imagination over time and then I can alter the photoshopped ideas to my own creations.

I am limited in the number of paint colours and the daggy paint brushes that I use because money is tight and I have to make do with what I have. It makes me wonder if I would be better or worse if I had tons of colours and different art mediums. I wouldn't have to ad lib so much and it may not be as creative but it would be a darn site easier. I love bright colours and try to use them in my paintings and want to be loose and free but never seem to quite get there. In the afternoons, while waiting for my daughter on the school runs, I have been drawing anything I can see and the looseness is coming on, just not in the painting yet.
Jenn: What are your favourite artist's supplies?

Vonny: I love to paint with a few different mediums and my latest love (though not yet mastered) are the Twinkling H2O's. For acrylic painting I prefer Atelier but still have a lot of Jo Sonja's to use up and my watercolours are from the Koh-I-Noor brilliant and standard watercolour wheels. The ultimate for me would be to own a full set of Silks, but I will have to win the lotto first. I used to always paint on canvas but lately I have been painting on paper. I am using Arches and Canson (which I got on sale), both smooth and medium 300gsm and boy is that different. Paper seems to suck that paint right off the brush and then curls up your arm when you aren't paying attention. It is much faster to work with and smaller, so a picture can be finished in a few days, unlike some canvases which have taken me years, like the undersea painting at the top of my blog. There was so much detail in the painting, that I never thought it would ever be finished.

Jenn: Do you have a favourite subject?

Vonny: My absolute favourite thing to paint is undersea pictures. The fish and coral are so bright and there are so many different textures to create. I am very lucky to live right on the ocean but you won't catch me in it. Due to my aversion to the water, I have to rely on photographs of the reef to paint. If anyone has some reef photos they would like to share, I would love to see them.
Jenn: How does making a spectacular piece make you feel?

Vonny: I only have one piece that I can say is my best work and that is my fish painting in my meals room. It has been up for a few years and I still haven't finished it! The fish in this piece are full of character and fun, plus the way I have managed to make it look as if they are swimming above you, has impressed even me. I am my own worst critic and always find something that I don't like about my paintings.

Jenn: What do you do with a less than stellar piece.

Vonny: Between my two filing cabinets there are heaps of canvasses, all tossed there in disgust when I couldn't save them or got bored with them. I do occasionally pull the odd one out and see what I can do with it. The coffee cups with a satin background that I finished recently had sat there for years as I was fed up with the satin and now it's finished I am putting that into the art show. So sometimes it is best to look at something with fresh eyes.

Vonny's Links:

Thanks to Vonny for patiently answering my interview questions, it was such a pleasure to get to know you better as an artist. I'm thrilled to call you a friend and look forward to getting to know you better in that capacity too. I was so thrilled to find out after I'd gotten to know both you and Tracey Fletcher King separately that you both are besties and live in the same place in Australia! I seem to happily be collecting Australians as friends. This doesn't surprise me as Australians and Canadians both enjoy a stellar reputation around the world as friendly people. Thank you for sharing your friendship and artistic life with me. I know my readers so enjoy learning about talented artists like yourself.


If you'd like to read previous Featured Artist posts just Click Here and you'll pull up all the Featured Artists that I've interviewed. They're so worth the read & their art is so inspiring!
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  1. What an interesting interview with such an incredible artist. I am always in awe when I see what people can paint/draw - and not just a little jealous I do admit ;) Superb! Thanks for sharing Jennifer :0)

  2. Wow - so talented and such an interesting interview. Thanks for helping us get to know new and amazing people.

  3. Great interview and so glad you and Von have found each other... she is such a wonderful person and always generous with her time and support... and you wouldn't believe how intense and beautiful her colours are in real life...xx

  4. What a great interview Jenn,
    You've captured three of my favourite people...you Jenn, Vonny and Tracey all together. How clever!

    It was a lovely tribute to Von's talent and brilliant art work.
    Thanks for sharing xox

  5. Wow, she is fabulous. Thanks for letting us get to know Vonny.

  6. Wonderful interview Jenn! and I LOVE Vonny..her work is fabulous and gorgeous..she is a beautiful-soul and mega-talented spirit!
    Beautiful post!

  7. Wonderful to meet Von. I am amazed at her stunning work and her patience in creating it. Of course she had with the Twinkling H2O passion. I'm her newest follower. Thank you for sharing her.

    Hugs xx

  8. Wonderful to meet Von. I am amazed at her stunning work and her patience in creating it. Of course she had with the Twinkling H2O passion. I'm her newest follower. Thank you for sharing her.

    Hugs xx

  9. What a great interview! I only recently met Vonny and was instantly impressed with her on many levels. I'm glad she's trying an etsy shop. :)

  10. Vonny is indeed a master of shadows and light. I salute her! I like that she says she does her art from trial and error as she doesn't know the formal rules. Sometimes those rules can be so confining!

  11. WOW i am so in awe of Vonny's skill! what a fabulous post Jenn! thanks so much for doing a feature on Vonny so we could learn more about her!

  12. And she is self-taught...wow... I have always absolutely loved Vonny's work - "met" her thru APR! Thanks Jenn!

  13. I have really enjoyed Vonnie's blog and her paintings are fabulous! I fell in love with her fish, but found it very interesting that she doesn't go into the water herself! I loved reading a little bit about you vonnie and getting to know you better was fun! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina :)

  14. I've only just 'met' Vonny after joining the weekly APR challenge and I'm already in love with her work. What a talented and versatile artist Vonny is!

    Great interview!


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