I’m an oil and watercolor painter based in Southern California. My work ranges from abstract to coastal, with a focus on color and movement. By walking the line between abstracted landscapes and fully abstract impressions of color and energy, I aim to create alternate worlds that can be both soothing and evocative, creating a place from which viewers can get out of their usual cycle of thoughts, explore their own depth and celebrate the beauty of being alive.
Describe your art journey!
I was lucky enough to grow up in a very artistic family and in a home full of musical instruments and art supplies, so art and creativity have always been integral parts of my existence.
Since I was young, art for me has been like breathing – so innate that I sometimes took it for granted, and also necessary for survival. I’m a visual thinker, and drawing and painting have always been a source of joy, fun and refuge. At first, the idea of pursuing art professionally didn’t even occur to me as a possibility because I couldn’t imagine something so fun could be considered “work.”
By the time I transitioned to painting full-time, I realized that I’d been moving in this direction for years without even realizing it. It was as if the back of my mind had been laying the groundwork all along for the moment when the rest of me caught up and realized — I’m an artist and there’s no point in fighting it!
It’s been the most wonderful relief to allow myself to build a life that centers on creativity and make work that feels meaningful and purposeful to me. For so much of my life I used art to open up alternate worlds for myself where I could escape the stress of the “real world” and remember what it feels like to feel truly alive. Now, I have the privilege of creating those worlds for others to explore too.
How do your daily habits affect your creative expression?
Building a life that fosters creativity is a very strange experience! You’re basically creating a structure around something that’s often quite unpredictable and intangible. My daily habits are what I lean on to maintain the mental and emotional space I need in order to create my best work. I think of these habits like scaffolding that’s built around an empty space from which I can dream and create.
By nature, I’m not a person who tends toward routine or structure, and I can accidentally “time travel” (become so involved in something that I completely lose all sense of time). Often my creative process involves time traveling, but running the business end of things requires a very different part of my brain. So, I’ve had to be very intentional about creating a structure that helps me stay on top of my to-do list. Knowing the less creative tasks are handled is what allows me to then “time travel” freely while painting and let the creative part of my brain take the lead.
How has art impacted the way you structure your day?
Painting professionally has necessitated that I lean away from my natural night owl tendencies. There are some things (like mixing my colors) that I will only do with good natural light, so I’ve had to learn to get myself to bed early enough that I can get started with my creative process while there’s still plenty of natural light left for the day.
What role does art play in your personal wellness?
Art and personal wellness are like two sides of the same coin for me. I can’t seem to have one without the other.
My best work comes when I’m grounded, connected to myself and those I love, and when I feel light enough to be emotionally open and mentally flexible. For me, painting is a delicate balance between pursuing a vision and being flexible and present enough to continually adjust my vision as the piece develops. When I’m not taking good care of myself, I’m less able to stay present with a piece and take the kind of creative leaps that push me forward as an artist.
On the other hand, painting – and especially exploring a new concept or technique – is one of the tools that I use to feel grounded and reconnect to myself. The feel of spreading paint on a canvas is simultaneously one of the most soothing and most exciting things I can imagine.
What are your favorite creative media and/or subjects?
Although watercolor was my first love, I’m primarily an oil painter now. I love to play with the medium of oil and explore effects that allude to the feel of watercolors.
More than anything else, I’d say that I’m enamored with color and how powerfully it speaks to the subconscious. In particular, I love to softly transition between colors, or play them against each other. Often what gets me most excited to start a new piece is a certain color that I have fallen in love with.
I also love to play with taking a complex concept and challenge myself to transduce an idea into an image.
Who or what has been the biggest influence(s) to you as an artist?
Visually, I’m really inspired by the natural world, especially the ocean. I’m constantly studying what I find beautiful around me, trying to memorize how light and color shifts at different times or in different weather. Lately I’ve been fascinated by the moment just before the sun dips below the horizon across the water. I love to take elements of the familiar (like the sun on the horizon or palm trees) and then abstract the familiar scene somehow – often with color – to create an impression of a familiar world that also feels a bit fantastical, surreal and playful.
Philosophically speaking though, I would say that my dad and the way that he lived and found joy and pleasure in even the most mundane experiences of life has really influenced the “why” of my work. When I create a piece, my hope is that it will inspire that same type of joyful experience of the everyday, and the deep appreciation of how beautiful it is to be alive.
Liz C Fernandez’s daily routine:
Example routine, please edit
- 7:30 AM Coffee/Breakfast
Feed & play with Russ (my dog 🐶)
- 8:30 AM Walk with Russ/take in inspiration from nature
- 9:30 AM Make a to-do list
Make notes on ideas for new work!
- 11:30 AM Head to the Gallery/Studio
- 12:00 PM Open the Gallery and prep space for painting
- 12:30 PM Mix my colors for the day
- 1:30 PM Start Painting!
Snack break at some point
- 7:30 PM Start the cleanup process. Wash brushes, clear the workspace, etc
- 8:00 PM Close the gallery, head home
- 8:15 PM Feed Russ and take him for a walk
- 8:45 PM Dinner & time with those I love
- 10:30 PM Self care routine & wind down
- 11:30 PM Play sudoku until I fall asleep
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