"Painting is my way of appreciating and enjoying the beauty of creation. It is my hope that, while I have found relaxation and fulfillment
in completing a painting, others will find enjoyment viewing it.” ~ Donna Kaut
Q: Please tell us about yourself. Anything you’d like to share, perhaps where you live, where you were born?
I was born and raised in Beaverlodge, Alberta. (In fact, I was born in the present BACS building, which was the hospital at that time!) I attended GPRC then the U of A to receive my Bachelor of Science degree. I was married in Beaverlodge in 1972 to Jürgen, my husband of 48 years. We have four children and seven grandchildren – whom we see regularly with much delight. I attended GPRC where I received a Certificate in Business Administration and a Certificate in Visual Arts. I was a church secretary at Faith Lutheran Church in Grande Prairie after the kids were all in school. Some of my other pursuits include journaling, writing poetry and stories, making Ukrainian Easter eggs, reading, attending church, camping, visiting with family (love those grandkids!), designing greeting cards, exercising, gardening, houseplants, photography, and collecting vinyl records.
Q: When did you first realize that you enjoyed creating art? Is there a particular person who supported your decision to pursue your goals? If so, in what way did you feel supported?
As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed making art: drawing, coloring, painting (I started with paint by numbers!), gluing, cutting etc... When I was a young girl I met Robert Guest and saw his drawings in India ink. I tried that medium also. When I was newly married, I met a lady who had just finished taking an oil painting course and she showed me her masterpiece she had just completed. I thought, “I would just love to be able to do that!” That thought remained with me for years until I took my first oil painting class in 1989 taught by Dianne Gaboury through the city of GP. I never looked back! All through the years of learning and perfecting my art, my husband, Jürgen, is always there to support me. He is a big help: with my ups and downs, searching out art galleries in our travels, hauling equipment to art shows, and so on. He encourages me at every turn. Above all I thank God who gave me this gift of desire and perseverance to be an artist.
Q: What is your motivation for creating art?
Once I began to produce art, it was my desire to make more, do better, learn new skills, and express my interpretation of the great big world out there. I am a perfectionist so I constantly want to do a little bit better. That is motivation enough for a lifetime!
Q: Do you have a favorite medium and if so, why?
I like oils. I have tried other mediums, especially while taking courses and workshops, but I find I can express myself best with oils. They are slow drying, which lets me compose a scene for a long period of time before saying, enough! I like to glaze, and oils do that perfectly. Some colors are opaque, some transparent, so each color has its own particular characteristic that meld together to achieve that special effect so unique to oil paintings. I have used oils since I started with my first “beginner’s oil painting” course and I still love them.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your artworks and what they mean to you?
The subject matter is part of God’s awesome and wonderful creation, from which I get my inspiration. The flowers, berries and other plant life, as well as the landscapes they flourish in, are all part of this beautiful planet, where one only has to look around to feel inspired! When I see a saskatoon bunch or a wild rose, I am amazed that such a small part of creation can have so much detail and beauty. Many of my paintings incorporate only a few square inches of nature, and yet, in that small space, there are so many things happening: color, light, shadow, and plant parts that are so tiny that it is hard to imagine how they were created. I strive to bring these details to life, in the hope that when viewed, the painting will inspire the people to see their surroundings in a new light, and challenge them to go out and seek their own small part of the real world.
'Passion' - Oil on Canvas
'Radiance' - Oil on Canvas
'Delectable' - Oil on Canvas
'Fresh'- Oil on Canvas
Q: When you create art do you listen to calming music, are you thinking of anything in particular or have any emotions at all?
Sometimes I listen to music. I like many styles including: classical (Mozart), Celtic (Enya, Loreena McKennitt), light rock (Simon and Garfunkel). Sometimes I paint in silence. To me painting is a solitary activity where I can relax and put all my energy into creating without distraction.
Q: In our busy world, time can be an issue. Do you have any tips or tricks to find time for your art?
What I do is put on the calendar the days in the upcoming week when I will do art. No appointments or other activities are scheduled during that time, unless an emergency! I work best in the mornings so art comes first in the day.
Q: Is creating art your main profession?
Yes, it is. Much of my spare time is allotted to painting or other activities to do with art.
Q: Can you tell us about any awards or exhibitions that have made an impact on your life?
I have won a few awards over the years; the most prestigious being Juror’s Choice, Best New Artist (flat work), Calgary Stampede Western Art Auction. This was an international competition so I felt honored to win it. I also won awards for the “Capture the Beauty of the Peace Exhibition” and “Members’ Exhibition, Prairie Art Gallery”.
Q: Do you have any major goals for your art career?
My most treasured goal is to become the best that I can be. Having developed a style and genre that is pleasing to me, it is my desire to continue along this line. In the past I have painted other genres such as landscapes, abstracts, portraits and wildlife. Hopefully I can pursue these other areas in the future, so I will never run out of ideas!
Q: What inspires you to be the best artist that you can be?
Nothing inspires me more than looking at one of my completed paintings and marveling that I did it! Sometimes my inner self takes over and after the work is finished I just want to do it again! Visiting galleries and seeing other artists’ styles in books and magazines is important for my artistic growth.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share about your art journey or inspiration so far to inspire others?
When I was young, the word “artist” gave me impression of someone magical. Someone who could take some paint, canvas, pencils, paper, etc. and create wonderful artworks to marvel at, appreciate, study, and just start your heart beating faster. I assumed in those days that I couldn’t be an artist. From an early age I created artworks and kept at it until, finally, I was an artist! If anyone wants to join the art world, all it takes is desire and perseverance. I found out, “You can do it!”
Grande Prairie, AB firstname.lastname@example.org