Tuesday, January 10, 2012

An Interview With The Artist: Brenda Thebeau (and blogoversary winner announced!)

Thanks so much to all of you for your sweet and thoughtful comments on my blogoversary post (and really ALL of your comments on each of my posts). You all are just plain awesome. I wish I could give each of you something. I have the winner (randomly chosen by my son) but I'm not going to announce it until the end of this blog post so you can focus on this amazing artist interview I have today. Seriously, I have been so excited to share her with you! Her paintings and posts leave me feeling inspired, empowered and motivated. And I know you will feel the same. You can visit her blog by clicking here. Let's begin.  :)

My Photo
This is Bren. She is a mixed media abstract artist and she is made of awesome. :)
Bren, you truly are an amazing artist. Your abstract pieces always evoke an emotional reaction when I see one, I can only imagine how it really feels to see one in real life! I’d love to get to know you a little better. Could you tell us a little about your path to becoming the artist you are today?
You're too kind, but I appreciate knowing that my art communicates, it's a thrilling and humbling feeling. About three years ago, I began to toy with the idea of making my life practice of journaling more visual in nature. As I searched the internet for some inspiration I found a whole community of Art Journaling bloggers! I began to pick up on techniques and found that working with acrylics and ink in my journal was just my fit. After exploring all manner of ideas through my journal, I began to wonder if what I was doing on paper would translate onto canvas. It was liberating and before I knew it I was off and running into the world of abstractions and mixed-media.  Liberating is a word that always comes to mind when I look at your art. :)
3-panel 12 x 16" = 16 x 36"
acrylic and mixed media on canvas by Bren Thebeau 
You post new work regularly to your blog, which I think is very impressive. It’s not easy to be consistent about your work. What inspires you to create your art and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?
Maybe it's because I've only been at this for a couple of years, but I don't worry about trying to be consistent, I just follow my inner rhythm. Mind you life and health issues can really mess with my rhythm! I struggle with rather debilitating fibromyalgia so to set a goal of painting daily would just lead to defeat. Instead I've learned to hold loosely to plans and make the most of the moments and times I have. While I'm working on a piece, the process is working on me. It's a mystery to me but at the darkest of times the process of creating somehow holds and releases the things I have no words for, or way of understanding. Working on my art connects me to myself and my world in all its layers and that keeps me motivated. Well said Bren. I just love that. :)

Like I said before, you create some absolutely, stunning, jaw-dropping abstract pieces. What is it that draws you to paint abstractly? What is your thought process before you create each piece?
All too often there is little conscious though that goes into a piece to begin with, but as I work I begin to realize that something has been bubbling away on a subconscious level and out it comes. I have learned so much about myself, gained insight and I hope some wisdom as the process exposes and helps me explore in ways that other wise would have taken longer to see or realize. Rather than having a visual of what I want a piece to look like, I will have a desire to work with certain mediums, play with some new idea or colour palette. Exploratory! However, when working with the Gorilla Glue, I do take some time to consider a basic design, only because once you get that glue down it doesn't come back up again! As for choosing to paint abstractly, I love the wide open feeling I have when creating abstracts, I can play and explore without a worry of ruining what came before. Layer upon layer of explorations. And I confess, abstract choose me, because I have little talent when it comes to painting realistically! I leave that in the talented hands of people like yourself. You have loads of talent my friend! I could never create what you do. But you are too kind Bren. Thank you. :) 
24 x 24" acrylic and mixed media on gallery wrap canvas
by Bren Thebeau
Life as an artist is pretty awesome. But it’s not all glitter and rainbows. What do you think is the best part of being an artist? And the worst part?
I'm not sure I've been at this long enough to qualify in answering these, give me a few years and maybe I'll have something worth saying! :)

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist so far?
Personally, it has been getting my art out there, taking the plunge and putting my art on display. That didn't and doesn't come easily. I'm not an outgoing person and frankly it's still a wonder to me that others have liked what I've created! It has been the biggest personal challenge and the most amazingly, positive one all at the same time!

What is one thing you want viewers of your paintings to walk away with?
Do you know, it is such a humbling experience to have someone view your work and to be moved by it. I hope they feel the power of the colours, sense the movement of the design and find some part of themselves being expressed there on the canvas.

'Joyous Struggle'
acrylic and mixed media on canvas by Bren Thebeau
Let’s talk about artistic influences. Who has been your biggest source of inspiration? Dead or alive.
I love the ladies of 'Experimental Abstract' like Maxine Masterfield, Pat Dews, Virginia Cobb, Jan Sitts, Suzy Andron & Mary Todd Beam. Their work inspires me endlessly.

What do you like to do when you’re not painting?
I love being with my family. Hanging out with my Grand-daughters, maybe playing in paint, enjoying my adult children, talking up a storm with my sisters and Mum. And any time spent with my husband of 35 years, is a great day in my books.   :)

What are some of your goals for the future?
I'm not a goal oriented person, although I've tried. I tend to work from a big picture perspective. I do keep my To Do List handy though, couldn't get along without it. There is a phrase that I have adapted, something I learned from working on one of my abstracts of a Joshua Tree. 'Bloom then branch.' According to the Wikipedia the Joshua tree usually doesn't branch until after it blooms. I knew right then, I was to just focus on letting my art fully bloom, and the branching would come naturally. I'm finding it to be so. If I can continue to grow as an artist, improving, expanding, exploring and remain mindful and open to opportunities to branch I figure I'm doing pretty well. 

And finally what tips or words of advice do you have for beginning artists?
Begin! Let the process take you, on an inner journey that leads to a profoundly, powerful experience in artistic expression. Trust your own creative voice, you have one, never doubt it. Nothing will derail you quicker than substituting 'other' voices for your own. Be you, you are an original! Those are some wonderful and wise words. And so true!

Acrylic and mixed media on canvas by Bren Thebeau
  Dawn or dusk?  Dusk by nature
  Sweet or salty? Mmm, salty.
  Winter or Summer? Cool is better :-)
  Zombies or Unicorns? Why yes this is an important question. Answer please :)  Unicorns if you please. :))))
  Dine in or eat out? Eat Out, cause then I don't have to cook! Huzzah! :)
  All-time favorite book? One! Just not possible.
  All-time favorite movie? Brave Heart, Dances With Wolves
  All-time favorite food? Lays Potato chips Yum!
  All-time favorite song? Again, only one! I'm afraid I like a random and varied music selection

Acrylic and mixed media on canvas by Bren Thebeau

Thank you so, SO much Bren! This has been such an inspiring interview, I now feel like rushing to my studio! And it's one I know I will be back to read over and over again. :) Once again you can visit Bren's blog esynergy to follow along with her on her art journey.  

And now to announce the winner. . . Last night I wrote all your names on little slips of paper and put them in a hat (because we're high tech like that around here) and had my son draw one of them out. And this is who it is. . .

Sandra Busby you are the winner of my print!! I'll be sending you an email shortly with the details. Thanks again to everybody for entering, I wish I could give each one of you something. *hugs to all* and Huzzah!! This is not going to be the only giveaway for this year, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve so be on the lookout for them!

See you Thursday everybody! :)


  1. Yay - another interview : ) Brenda, I really like your work. Gorgeous, rich colour. And I liked the Joshua Tree information. Interesting perspective! And...to Sandra - yay as well ; ) Thanks for another interesting post Crystal!

  2. Loved seeing Brenda's work, it is truly wonderful. Thanks for introducing us to this wonderful artist. I'd also like to say congratulations to Sandra.

  3. I like Brenda's style; her art is stunning. I enjoyed reading the interview, too!

  4. I enjoyed looking at Brenda's art.....I will have to check-out some more of her work. Congrats to the winner of your giveaway:)

  5. Extraordinary work and a wonderful interview! and yea!! sandra!

  6. Thank you Crystal for even asking :-) Appreciate you so much.
    And yeah to Sandra, lucky girl and that is one handsome assistant you have there!

  7. Wonderful post- always enjoy seeing your interviews and this was a great one. Love your work too and am a big fan of your blog!

  8. Je découvre toujours avec plaisir le travail de nouveaux artistes grâce à vos interviews... Joli partage...
    Je félicite la gagnante...
    Un gros bisou à vous et à Brenda.

  9. First of all, I really enjoyed the latest interview. I have always fancied dabbling in abstract and mixed-media art, but just don't seem to get around to it!
    Secondly - it is SO LOVELY to see that picture of your little boy holding up MY name! I was as pleased as punch when I read your email. What a lovely thing to happen during what has otherwise been a horrible time. I can not WAIT to hang it proudly on my wall and I have just the spot! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! :0)

  10. Wonderful interview, Crystal! I enjoyed seeing Brenda's art...you're right..she's amazing! and of course, Congrats to Sandra!!!

  11. Great interview, Crystal and what wonderful work Bren does !

    Congrats to Sandra xx

  12. This reminds me of the art my mom used to hand on the living room wall - except this is brighter, bolder. :)

    Congrats to the winner!

  13. I love how Brenda feels and relates to the creative process and of course their beautiful creations. I was also pleasantly surprised by the strength and security of its products despite the short time it takes in the paint.

  14. g'day Bren, how nice to visit with you in someone else's loungeroom :)

    hi Crystal [waves]
    nice interview

  15. This work looks like tracks from a particle accilerator. Very cool work.

  16. Particle accelerator, now Stan you've got my attention!


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment they really do mean so much to me! Because not all bloggers have their email enabled so I can reply directly through email I will try to reply here in the comments. If I don't please forgive me, life must have been hectic that day! :)) Huzzah!!

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