Vernita Bridges Hoyt
Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life? Who or what inspires your art life today?
I have always loved making art. My first art memory is of a coloring book and box of crayons my grandmother gave me when I was about 3 yrs. old. I grew up in a small Texas town where art education was not offered beyond elementary grades in our school system. My mother saw talent, and when I was 9 years old she enrolled me in a summer art class with an independent artist. That was my introduction to oil paints, and I’ve loved them ever since. Fast forward 60 years, and I am still making art. Today my inspiration continues to come from within, and my focus is primarily portraits of pets and children.
Why do you make art? What are you trying to communicate with your art? What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?
I am driven by an inner passion to make art in one form or another. I try to communicate the essence of a subject; for instance, with pet portraits (or children), I strive to capture the subject’s personality through the expression of the eyes. I might take artistic liberty with color or technique, but the eyes convey the spirit of the subject and must be right.
Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not? Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?
My studio spaces have varied through the years from a small 3x4 ft. space to an extra bedroom to a commercial interior room with no windows to an industrial space with wonderful light streaming in through a wall of windows. I have learned the most important studio feature for me is to be in a space at home or very near home. Traveling long distances to a studio limits painting time. Good natural light is a must for me. My current studio is in an upstairs converted game room with plenty of shelving, space to move about, a northeast natural light, and a pleasant wind chime softly playing a tune outside the windows.
What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it?
Early mornings or late nights are the best times for me to paint. I like the quiet of either time without the sounds of traffic or phones ringing.
Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?
I work in oil paints, watercolors, and soft pastels.
What is your most important artist tool? How does this tool factor into your art making?
When I feel the need to stretch and loosen up my technique, switching from brushes to palette knives does the trick. I’ve learned that changing tools or mediums can improve my skills across the board. As in all of life, I want to continue learning as long as I am living.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
Life itself keeps me motivated to paint.
What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?
To all beginning artists, I advise you to paint, draw, or sketch something daily. Practice, practice, practice makes perfect (or as close to perfect as possible), and painting/drawing/creating something daily will quickly improve your art skills. We learn by doing.
If you wish, please share with us any other aspect of your art life—professionally and/or personally—that hasn’t been answered in the above questions.
Although I graduated with honors from high school, I married and had my family first before ever thinking about college. At the age of 41 years, I applied and was accepted into the nationally accredited College of Architecture at the University of Houston, graduated with the five-year degree Bachelor of Architecture Cum Laude at the age of 46. This was absolutely one of the best and fulfilling accomplishments of my life.
For what one thing would you like to be remembered?
This is difficult to answer because I’ve never focused on one thing. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at many creative pursuits. I suppose you could remember me as being curious, a multi-tasking sort of Renaissance woman.
Describe yourself in one word.