GUEST ARTIST: “Creative Spark” by Patty Cunningham

Tree Frog watercolor Brenda Cunningham

My name is Patty Cunningham and I’m from Greenville, South Carolina. When I was a young girl, I thought anyone who created art was special, somewhat god-like; that they had a special talent, gift or vision specific to them and denied to mere mortals, such as myself.  As I grew, I realized that we are all artists.  We all have that creative, god-given spark!  Our job is to find it!

My art honors that spark within myself and examines the many different, sometimes mundane ways to show the beauty that surrounds us.  That can be through a realistic representation of a lovely animal, a beautiful lake reflection or a delightful flower.  More abstract pieces examine the wonderful and frequently unanticipated ways in which colors mingle, whether in watercolor or with poured acrylics.

I began drawing about 25 years ago in the evening while my children were doing homework.  I often took evening classes to learn about color – watercolor, pastel, acrylic – and eventually joined a group of artists who painted regularly and sponsored one show a year.

Delta Lady Boat watercolor Brenda Cunningham

I began selling and my professional life as an artist was launched.  The critique and support from these new friends had a huge impact on my work and my creative development.  Confidence was a large part of that process.

Three Dogs watercolor Brenda Cunningham

A recent move put me in contact with a dynamic arts community in South Carolina and I have been able to expand my repertoire and experimentation to include pen, alcohol inks, gold leaf, and poured acrylics.  I have even begun Java Painters of America, a group that meets weekly and paints with coffee.  (Yep!  Coffee!)  Now I teach and am a founding member of the White Rabbit Gallery in Travelers Rest, SC.

For anyone interested in the supplies I use, here is a partial list: professional grade watercolor paint – Winsor & Newton, Da Vinci, American Journey; professional watercolor paper – primarily Arches, 140 lb block; canvases, brushes – these can be any brand, however, the truly cheap are better left in the stores.

Window Drapes watercolor Brenda Cunningham

I always tell my watercolor students not to skimp on the paint or paper.  Using the poorer qualities will make the entire process of learning how to control the paint, as well as the end results, much less enjoyable.

For acrylics, I use professional quality paint for the most part, although sometimes I’ve had success with the less expensive brands for poured pieces.  I have, on occasion, used good old latex wall paint!  I tend to use Liquitex pouring mediums and varnishes. I use two-part epoxy and powdered pigments for resin work.

Birch Trees watercolor Brenda Cunningham

The process of creating something beautiful makes my heart sing; a feeling that expands when someone else appreciates my efforts.  My hope is that anyone looking at my work will be inspired to want to play and to create something of their own.  Your creative spark lights the way for others!

Patty Cunningham

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Joan Canning 3 years ago

    Hello Charlie
    You have another great winner here, Patty Cunningham. Her story is wonderful an the art is awesome. Visited her Instagram an enjoyed seeing her unique use of mediums in her work. Thank you for having her on.

  2. Sandra Strait 3 years ago

    Patty, the joy you have in art shows in your paintings! Such lively compositions and beautiful color! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us.

  3. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 3 years ago

    Hello Patty, so wonderful to learn about your art journey. I am so glad that you found out that we all have our talents and should explore them. Your art is gorgeous!!!!!!!! 🙂

  4. Karen Fortier 3 years ago

    Patty your paintings are full of joy and a delight to see. Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. mjmarmo 3 years ago

    How fun to read about you and how you got to where your are. Your pieces are just wonderful!

  6. Sharon Nolfi 3 years ago

    Love the coffee paintings!

  7. Janneke Booister 3 years ago

    Thank you for your story and your wonderful art.
    I always wonder how people can actually paint with coffee, I end up drinking my coffee before I start painting 🙂

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