Featured Artist: Calinai Blay
There are so many amazing artists out in the world that I absolutely admire and adore. I have decided to start featuring other artists on my blog to add some diversity and inspiration to the Trendy Puku culture. This week I would like to introduce you to my good friend, Calinai. Calinai and I met when we were both exchange students in Germany. We lived on opposite sides of the country, but when our program had "reunions," we would see each other and easily became friends. She is a talented artist and I love her paintings. I have one of her paintings in my living room and it is beautiful (pictured above). Enjoy her interview and if you have any more questions for her, please feel free to ask in the comments and I will get an answer for you!
Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Calinai Blay, I am an artist and mother, I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and just moved back here after spending 6 years in northern Florida.
Tell me about your work.
I love to paint nature, landscapes, seascapes, and skyscapes.
What is your medium of choice?
Oil on canvas or panel. I draw and occasionally dabble in watercolor and gouache but I love how vibrant and rich oil color is and when it’s available it’s always my first choice medium.
What inspires you?
Everything! I primarily paint nature and landscapes, and am always in awe of the world around me. It can almost be stressful to see something beautiful in nature and have a strong desire to capture it, but not be able to. I also should include that other artists inspire me, the more I paint, the more I appreciate the paintings of others.
What do you do with all your paintings?
Many of them hang in my own home, some are given as gifts, some are sold. I am a novice when it comes to marketing, but I am getting better at selling my artwork.
Where do you paint?
Currently in the kitchen, I have a little shelf where I keep my supplies and I set up and clean every night.
What is your artistic background?
I come from a family of 6 children and every single one of us loves to draw or paint. I have several extended family members and ancestors that worked professionally as artists. However, with that said I do not have any formal art training (does middle school art count?), just an accumulation of many years of practice. I started oil painting in 2007, then took a break until 2014, during that time I wanted to paint, but always made excuses, finally the urge to paint got too strong and I picked it up again.
Do you have a background in anything else?
Yes! I have Bachelor's Degrees in both History and Nursing. I know an artist historian nurse is kind of all over the place, but I am grateful for the balance. I am grateful for all the opportunities I’ve have to make myself well rounded, and feel that it enriches my art. I usually do one or two shifts a week as an RN, and it really gives me perspective on what is important in life.
What is your favorite thing you’ve ever created?
My two daughters, hands down. But as far as paintings, that changes all the time, probably whatever I am currently working on it.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
It is so fulfilling to have people respond to my artwork. I love it! But, it is especially sweet when my 91 year old grandmother marvels over my artwork.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
To just keep working, and enjoy the process. Sometimes I get frustrated that I don’t get enough time to paint, I spend most of my time with my two young daughters, but it helps to be reminded that they will grow up fast and then I will have more of time to paint, so to just enjoy the season that I am in right now.
Do you have any mentors? Or current favorite artists/artwork?
Mentors, not really, I don’t frequently get to chat with other artists, but I love it when I can. I’ve skimmed a few art advice books that have been helpful. Whenever I ask my husband’s opinion he says that whatever painting I am asking about is the best one yet, I still can’t figure out if he is being sarcastic or not.
I have so many favorite artists, it’s kind of ridiculous, I love the California Impressionists, Arthur F. Matthews. In high school I spent a year in Germany and got to visit Worpeswede (it was an artist colony around the turn of the 20th century), the artists that lived there especially Paula Modersohn-Becker and Heinrich Vogeler made a deep impressionism on me, and I will always love their work. Then there’s a whole list of artists I follow on instagram a few favorites are Kevin Courter, Glenn Dean, and Chris Long.
Where can we find you?
And I update frequently on instagram @calinai2
Pictured above are only a few of my favorite paintings. Head over to Calinai's website to see her entire portfolio!