“A substantial part of creating is putting aside negative thoughts, focusing on enjoying the process, surrendering expectations that steal from it, and following my intuition.”
In a few words, describe yourself and your practice.
A modern watercolor painter inspired by simplicity, nature, and a touch of whimsy.
How would your audience describe you?
Light hearted and thoughtful.
Who (or what) inspires you?
Books and podcasts inspire me a lot. Currently, I’m loving On Being the podcast. It explores big life questions through interviews of amazing people in different life stages and occupations. Last year, I listened to an interview on Mary Oliver, a contemporary poet, and I fell in love with her. It led me to starting a new challenge for 2016, which is diving into poetry and painting a piece inspired by a poem by Mary Oliver once a week for the entirety of the year. So far it’s been amazing!
Children are one of my biggest inspiration. They are always creating with so much joy and energy. The best part is that they are unhindered by self consciousness and shame. It would be a dream to create like that again!
When did you start your practice?
When I was out shopping for house goods, I picked up a beginner watercolor kit. It was November 2014, and I decided to paint a doodle everyday in December. I called it #tiffanywongartmas.
How do you begin your process?
On a given day, I would set up my paper, paints, and water. Then pencil in some simple coordinates so that my eye is accustomed to the plane of the paper – meaning I know what is straight and the middle of the paper. Typically I would then identify a source of inspiration, whether it be a feeling, a terrain, a thought, or a color I want to explore. Before my mind tries to overanalyze and critique the idea, I would commit to mixing colors and painting it. A substantial part of creating is putting aside negative thoughts, focusing on enjoying the process, surrendering expectations that steal from it, and following my intuition.
WHAT IS THE MOST USEFUL TIP OR ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
“Creating isn’t an addition to your life, but it’s a process of becoming whole again.” – Madeleine L’Engle.
How does where you live affect your work?
The apartment that I share with my roommate, Jaclyn Simpson, is such a place of creativity and rest. The natural light that floods the entire apartment and also the aesthetic of the apartment in general makes it easy to channel inspiration.
Is your practice how you support yourself? If not, what else are you working on to do so?
I’m in the works of building a foundation in supporting myself through art. Ultimately, that is what I want to do primarily. In the mean time, I am so thankful I get to do something else that I absolutely find so much joy doing, which is nannying. Three days out of the week I watch a two year old girl, and I couldn’t ask for a better job. Children are one of my biggest inspiration. They are always creating with so much joy and energy. The best part is that they are unhindered by self consciousness and shame. It would be a dream to create like that again!
What would you be doing if you weren't doing this?
Investing in my music career as a folk singer/songwriter more fervently. Right now I feel like I want to build a foundation for art, but eventually have art support me and my music writing career in the long run.
WHAT MAKES YOUR WORK UNIQUE?
It’s unique, because it’s an outflowing of me and what I enjoy. The subject or technique may not be original (what is?), but what makes it different is that I sat down to paint it and no one else did.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE ASPIRING TO DO WHAT YOU DO?
Practice being mindful of how expectation and perfection may create fear in creating. When I finally give up all those voices of negativity, only then can I enjoy painting. More often than not, that’s when the outcome is the most beautiful.
HOW HAS YOUR PRACTICE CHANGES OVER TIME?
I’m finding that the more hours I log into painting, the more freedom it gives me to do what I envision. All skills work like that, but it’s so much more obvious when the advancement is visible.
What are some challenges you're facing in your practice?
Right now my challenge is flipping from right and left brain all the time. I’m trying to be creative while figuring out how to make a profit. I really have no idea how to do it well and seamlessly. It feels very awkward, and I’m always challenged to find the time and energy to sit down and paint a piece for me.
What are you currently working on?
This year, I am delving into learning and writing poetry for the first time! So I am challenging myself with painting a piece inspired by a Mary Oliver poem every Wednesday of 2016 . So far I am loving it! I get to maintain the discipline of painting consistently, and it's such good practice of challenging me to take inspiration from another form of art. Look for #maryoliverwednesdays on Instagram to see more.