Saturday Salon - Kathryn Dyche Dechairo

Image created by Kathryn Dyche Dechairo

Following is the fourth in my once-monthly series of 'Saturday Salons' - where I'll be introducing and sharing the work of other artists who I've met along my journeys here on this great world wide web.

Today - I am thrilled to be interviewing Kathryn Dyche Dechairo whose beautiful work you can see over at her blog  Art.Nature.Photography.

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"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."

- Ben Sweetland

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 Before settling here in the USA, I see you lived in the UK. How has living on both sides of the pond inspired and informed your art?

I was born in South Wales (UK), grew up in Oxfordshire (UK) and after five years in Connecticut I now live in Virginia with my husband and two cats. 

Growing up I wasn’t creative at all.  It wasn’t until I moved state side in 2004 that I began to explore that side of myself.  All of a sudden I had access to so many great crafting supplies and materials and I felt this compulsion to create.

Since then I’ve experimented with different mediums such as acrylic paint, mixed media, spray paint, beaded jewelry, soaps and candles, and even tried my hand at knitting and sewing.  Eventually I found myself returning to my first love, that of painting and mixed media. 

I’ve always felt a strong connection to nature and wildlife and have been fortunate to experience that in both countries.  It was this love of nature that provided a natural jumping off point and remains a strong component in my work today.

 Can you tell me what first ignited your creative spark?

Life changing events such as moving country, and the death of my father proved to be the catalyst for my creativity.  When you experience change and loss on such a scale it makes you sit back, take stock and really question things.

I ended up leaving a career in Human Resources and with the support of my husband I have been able to embark on the most amazing creative journey. 

 I love your textured art paintings. Can you tell me a bit about them? What mediums you use and how you create them?

I first began selling my textured art paintings in 2010 and was surprised at how well received they were.  I knew I loved texture but to see others visceral response to it too was incredible.  The biggest compliment I get is when someone wants to reach out and touch one of my pieces because that’s exactly the feeling I hope to convey when creating them.

I usually start with a blank canvas and apply tissue paper or caulk to create a textured background.  I then use caulk or other mixed media elements to create the raised textured images.  This prep work happens over the course of a couple of days and is then left to dry.  I then apply multiple layers of acrylic paint (sometimes with brushes, at times with my fingers) and just keep going until I feel it’s time to stop.

Painting is like a form of meditation for me.  I like to work in silence and often find that I loose all track of time and myself in the process.  Nothing brings a bigger smile to my face than when I look up from a piece I’m working on to find myself covered in paint.

I’m never entirely sure how the finished piece comes about, making each one truly one-of-a-kind.

You definitely have a particular 'signature' style that shines thru - both in your photographic work and in your painting. Can you speak to how it is that this has evolved?

Photography for me initially started out as a means to an end.  A way to take images of my products and to capture snapshots to illustrate my blog posts.  Since upgrading my camera earlier this year photography has now become a new passion.  Through a camera lens I am able to combine my love of art and nature in a way that is both visual and easily shared.

This was taken to a whole new level when I took a Kim Klassen course and discovered layers and textures in Photoshop Elements.  I was so excited to learn that I could apply my love of texture not only to my paintings but into creating textured digital art too.

Given that my creative journey began following the death of my father both my textured art paintings and my photography convey the emotions and feelings I’ve experienced from love, loss and life.  The texture and multiple layers you find across my body of work are often referred to as dark but capture these emotions and feelings, my thoughts, my dreams and life experiences. 

Do you have any favorite artists that you believe have impacted and influenced your work?

There have been many artists over the years that I’ve felt a connection to but if I had to pick a couple of favorites they would definitely be Mark Rothko and Andy Goldsworthy.  Rothko’s use of color has always invoked a strong emotional reaction in me and I hope to emulate that in my own work.  Andy Goldsworthy’s art form combines everything that I love . . .  art, nature and photography.

More recently I’ve also found myself inspired by all the wonderful photographers that I see online and the images captured by National Geographic just blow me away.

I have also been greatly inspired by other artists and bloggers whose own journeys, experience, advice and warm comments have encouraged me to learn and grow in unimaginable ways.