In the Studio with Eva Wojnar
This Saturday we introduce you to artist Eva Wojnar!
Wojnar spent 35 years in an office as a graphic designer and magazine art director. Now retired and living in Bellingham, she enjoys the outdoors and painting the beauty that surrounds her.
What’s your background?
I spent 35 years of my working life as an art director, graphic designer, and photo editor. The last 23 years were behind a computer, working for a magazine publishing company in Fort Worth, Texas.
During that time, I hired and worked with photographers and illustrators whose work I greatly admired. After all those years, I said to myself, when I retire I’m going to get away from the computer and paint.
I chose watercolor because it is the polar opposite of the controlled environment of graphic design.
When I retired and moved to Bellingham, I began my quest by taking watercolor classes right here at the Jansen Art Center. It was the perfect gateway to all things watercolor.
Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?
I always loved art. As I child I would spend my days drawing and painting, mostly ballerinas and horses. In high school I started painting in oils, carefully copying the masters.
But I also loved theater, and in college I chose a double major of theater and art with an emphasis on advertising design. My career choices after graduation were either acting or commercial art.
Commercial art was more lucrative. Although I spent some time doing theater, my day job as graphic designer, which I also loved, paid the bills.
So I guess my pivotal moment was a case of “show me the money.”
What is your creative process like? Has it changed over time?
I have always enjoyed the inspiration that comes from studying the work of other artists. Whether its a watercolor workshop with an artist I like or articles
in art books and magazines or seeing an exhibit at a museum or gallery, I find my creative process is juiced by exploring a unique style, color palette, new materials or techniques.
It’s exciting for me to mix it up and push myself beyond the comfort zone. I think this has always been my approach before sitting down to work on a project, both now and in my past graphic-design life.
How do you know when a piece is complete?
I guess it’s when I say to myself, okay, I like it now. One instructor whom I admire said that paintings can go through a long, ugly period. I think the trick is to believe somewhere down the line the painting will turn from ugly duckling into some semblance of a swan.
I try to not throw it in the bin before that happens.
How have the concerns regarding COVID-19 impacted you creatively, if at all?
I miss getting together with my friends who are painters. I miss workshops and museum outings. But I am actually painting more now. It’s a lovely escape from all the crazy in the world.