I wanted to FEEL something; a spark that envelops you when you get an idea. That idea can give me the most visceral experience because I imagine what it would feel like to put down on paper and it’s just glorious. It’s more of an urge than a simple desire to paint. I often enter into a ‘flow state’, where nothing else around me matters except for the world I am immersed in when painting and listening to music. It’s a place where the outside world can be tuned out and my inner world can be turned on.
from Kaitlyn Page @theinnerobserver
As an artist and Creatrix, I make it my business to follow beings who create things that move me, so when the theme of illusion and mystery came up, I knew immediately which artist I wanted to reach out to.
Based out of Erie, Pennsylvania, Kaitlyn Page is an extremely accomplished watercolor artist who “enjoys exploring depth and meaning behind unity, the psychology behind thoughts and feelings, and the forces of energy in conjunction with the universe.” (@theinnerobserver)
I’m always amazed at the way Kaitlyn combines surrealism and realism in her extremely detail oriented paintings. For anyone that has worked with watercolor before, it’s safe to say that she truly pushes the materials to their limits. Perhaps what is even more compelling, is the fact that she is self-taught artist that has made becoming a full time artist a reality.
13MOONS is honored to have sat down with Kaitlyn Page, our most recent cover artist, for an exclusive interview.
13MOONS: We are so thrilled to have you as our 13MOONS cover artist this month! As a surrealist artist, you frequently explore themes of visual illusions. Can you describe what first attracted you to the style of surrealism and how you use illusion and mystery in your work?
Kaitlyn Page: “I first became attracted to the surrealist style after experimenting with psychedelics for the first time in 2013. Prior to this I was quite rigid when it came to my art – I focussed mainly on charcoal realism and had some experience working with watercolors in a more traditional way. After these experiences, I had a shift in mindset that made abstract work appeal to my senses in a way it hadn’t before. It didn’t happen all at once, but rather it was a gradual shift towards incorporating my knowledge of realism with surrealistic elements. Later down the road, as I gained more experience in the watercolor realm, I learned that I could stretch those boundaries using a medium most don’t generally consider when they think ‘surrealism’. I like to combine symbolism with my love of the natural world and mind bending “visions” into paintings that make the viewer scratch their head at the meaning behind it. Sometimes it’s as simple as finding something to make it ‘weirder’.”
13MOONS: One of the most compelling technical aspects of your work is the amount of incredible detail and rich color saturation you are able to achieve. We see a lot of watercolor artists choose to work in a looser style due to the nature of the medium. Can you share a bit on what drew you to watercolors and working in this style?
KP: “In 2012 I discovered the work of @agnes-cecile (Silvia Pelissero) on Deviantart. Her beautiful, delicate, and ethereal work truly inspired me to put down my pencils and break into the unknown world of watercolors. This was my first introduction to watercolor portraiture done in a traditional fashion that broke free of many barriers I associated with watercolors. I believe it was my love for realism at the time, combined with the free flow of watercolor, that eventually led me to working in this style. I’ve always been a detailed oriented person who enjoyed hyper focusing on the small things, such as wispy hairs, eyelashes, and the texture of skin. Due to this, I didn’t mind the challenge that came with learning to use watercolors in a realistic fashion. Watercolors require many light layers and a lot of dedication, which I think is a perfect fit for someone like myself.”
13MOONS: One of my favorite things about your body of work is that every time I look at a piece, there is always more to take in. It’s almost like it has to be consumed in layers, but the big picture is just as important. It honestly reminds me of how I personally process sensory information as a neurodivergent. How has your neurodivergence* informed your artwork, and vice versa?
*Neurodivergence refers to the way that an individual’s brain operates differently from the “typical”. Many individuals that experience ADHD, Autism, anxiety, etc., identify as neurodivergent. There is no one way to experience neurodivergence, but if you are a creative, sensitive, or intuitive, then there is a good chance the concept of neurodivergence resonates with you!
KP: “Because of my neurodivergence, I have the ability to hyperfocus on particular things for very long periods of time. Once I set my mind to perfecting and learning about something, I can’t help but to put my everything into understanding it. Once I discovered art as a young tween, I was able to spend long and grueling hours, day in and day out, exploring my love for the art making process. I would draw every single day without fail – sometimes forgetting to eat, drink, or sleep. Without this focus, I am unsure I would have got to the level I am now with watercolors. I credit my neurodivergent brain with allowing me to never give up nor give in until I have absorbed every little morsel associated with learning my craft.
Another way my neurodivergence has informed my artwork is through the emotional value I put towards my pieces. I’ve always found it hard to describe my own emotions (I believe this is known as alexithymia) and due to this I find it hard to put them into tangible words that make sense to other people. I clearly remember my mother buying me a book about “emotions” growing up to help describe some of the things I was experiencing. Because of this, I use my art as a form of emotional expression to give light to the things I feel inside that I can’t describe. The art speaks for me when words can’t. It gives a voice to my inner turmoil, my inner joy, and other shared emotional expressions.
Before I was using my work to channel emotions, I used my art as a form of expressing and exploring my special interests growing up – such as painting anatomically correct big cats or other animals. I believe my neurodivergence allows me to see the world in a different light than the general population and I love the way you described processing information in layers – because that’s exactly how I feel when viewing life from my own lens.”
13MOONS: There is an abundance of symbolism that can be found in your work, which is a really interesting juxtaposition to the intense realism you are able to achieve. The most noticeable themes are nature, the universe, and animals. Can you share a little bit about your inspiration and choice to work with these images?
KP: “Before I loved art, I loved animals and the outdoors. These are two common themes that continue to play a big part in my life to this day. Both of my parents were avid outdoors people who started taking me on backpacking & camping trips at a young age. Most of my childhood was spent exploring the creek beds, hiking through the woods, catching frogs and minnows, and watching the seasons change from my window in the countryside. On top of this, we had an abundance of animal friends to play with. I feel as if I have always had a special connection to animals and even credit my cat “Ripple,” with saving my life a few years back. One of my first intense interests was categorizing animals and learning all about the universe. I think the natural world is a precious and beautiful place. It’s where I go to clear my mind and find myself. It gives me solace and warms my heart. I can’t help but incorporate these elements into my work as they are extremely important to me and also quite enjoyable to paint.”
13MOONS: There is also an element of self portraiture in some of your work. Is this something you enjoy working with and why?
KP: “I believe self portraiture is a window into someone’s personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It gives the viewer a sense of what this person’s life may be like from their perspective. Painting a self portrait can feel a bit odd in a way because you see yourself reflected on paper, yet at the same time, it can help the painter accept and understand themselves better. It can give their work a personal touch that can’t be achieved by using other models. Personally, I enjoy working on self portraits as they help me put personal life experiences onto paper and help me to process them.”
13MOONS: As a self-taught artist, what advice do you have for other individuals looking to work in the arts?
KP: “Practice, practice, practice! In order to make it as an artist, don’t expect success to come overnight. You must first refine your techniques and be inspired by your craft. Draw every day, live your art, make creativity a priority in your life. Once you have the basics down and feel ready to start selling, try different avenues and find what works best for you. Focus on the details and don’t get wrapped up in just trying to promote yourself. Create new and innovative work that captures the imagination of those around you. Create things that make people feel something, even if that feeling is a less than desired one. If you stand out amongst the crowd, people will start to notice. But in order to do this, it all starts with passion! Don’t lose yourself to the idea of marketing.”
13MOONS: During the summer months, you can be found vending your work at various music festivals. What is it like connecting with viewers in this type of setting and where can we expect to see you next?
KP: “Vending can be both very exciting and mentally exhausting at times. There are long hours involved, a lot of driving/traveling, and you speak with many people over the course of several days. However, it can also be extremely rewarding. It’s incredible meeting so many supportive people from all over the country. I’ve had people run up to me in tears because they are so happy to meet me and see my work in person. Honestly, there isn’t a feeling much better than that and I am grateful for each and every person who steps foot into my booth to take a look. Meeting fans from all over is incredible and each time I am blown away by how many people recognize my work.
Over this year you can expect to find me at Backwoods Festival in Arkansas, Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee, Levitate Fest in Maryland, Secret Dreams in Ohio, and many more! This is a shortlist – I will be booked June and July every weekend.”
ARTIST GALLERY | THE ART OF KAITLYN PAGE
13MOONS would like to thank Kaitlyn for sitting down with us and being our February 2023 Dark Moon cover artist!
To connect with Kaitlyn and see more of her amazing work, you can shop her online collection and follow her across multiple platforms @theinnerobserver.
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER
Natalie is an Educator, Visionary Seeress, and Creatrix that gives voice to the Sacred and Divine Feminine through her own Earthly experiences. She has been a visual and written artist for many years and sees creativity as a meditative process that unlocks messages from Spirit and the Ancestors.
Her poetry pieces are published under the name, Ishva Auset, The Daughter of Stars.
To connect with Natalie and learn about her programs designed for Sensitive Creatives and Awakening Intuitives, join us over in Speakeasy or reach out to her on Facebook.
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