Katrina Berg is a mother of five, balancing art and motherhood in such an inspiring fashion. Often combining the natural world and the domestic home in her work, Katrina’s creamy, candy coloured still life paintings are enriched with interesting textures and bold shapes. I am excited today to find out how she manages to find time for her art whilst raising her large family in this Artist Meets Mother interview.
Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to paint?
I’ve always been a big fan of art and design. When I was younger I planned on being an architect, later studying landscape architecture. We learned to create outdoor rooms, plan on a big and small scale, and consider the environment. I began painting as a way to create without boundaries, codes, and to fulfill my soul. Soon it was all I wanted to do. In the beginning I painted everything I adored: architecture, nature, and things that had memories or meaning. It really hasn’t changed much. Preserving memories and inspiring the creation of more, is still what fills my soul. Cake, bees, birds, mountains, barns…still life and landscapes in oil pretty much cover the topics for which I’m drawn.
Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?
We have 5 children: 4 sons ages 11, 8, and twin 2 year-olds (I know, right?!), and we have a daughter who is 10 (thank goodness)! The eldest 3 came quickly and the twins came after 6 miscarriages…we feel very blessed. Being a mother has meant lots of projects, creating together, exploring our mountain village by bike or hiking, skiing together and cooking…lots of cooking. Not long after the twins arrived we realized that life was too crazy, and have homeschooled the older 3 to make time for family and extracurricular activities. So now motherhood takes on another hat…it’s not easy, but so far, so good!
Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?
For sure! I remember preparing for a big show and not having much time to paint (pre-twins, no less). I would mull around potential paintings, solve problems, plan out what I’d accomplish that day in the back of my mind, while doing our morning routine or washing dishes, diapering, etc. Once it was naptime I knew I had a couple precious hours and took those moments accordingly (no email or other distractions during my studio time). 8 years later: I think it’s harder to make time, and there are more distractions but I’m always trying to evolve…be present for my kids, and still keep my studio time sacred. I love that my two passions of art and motherhood intersect and know that they influence and enrich each other daily. It’s a beautiful place to be!
Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time for yourself?
While I try to recharge and be productive in my studio time, I’m always looking for ways to create together. Over the past month, I was painting ornaments to sell, but I bought small wooden stars for all of us to paint together. And not all studio time is painting. I invite them to help me gesso my boards (the twins love this right now) and they all like to hold paintings while I photograph them. My daughter helped me name the latest group of paintings and loves to help me tag items before a show/market. My eldest son is my videographer, helping me with instagram stories, etc. I love sharing my business with each of them. We talk about what series I should do next, they come to shows with my husband and I, and give their opinions…lots of opinions haha!
Describe to us your workspace. Where do you create?
We built our modern-concrete home a few years ago. Half of our master bedroom is my studio space. Hospital-like curtains hang and are closed between the two areas when I paint late at night (a common infraction). I love waking, checking on the latest piece in the morning light, and getting excited for a new day. For a long time, I shared the space with the twins or painted in the dining room. As long as the wet paintings are up on the wall or a shelf for the night all is well!
What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?
Being able to create, teach, and mother in our home is such a bonus. And I love sharing a bit more of who I am deep inside with our children.
What challenges does it bring?
The house is never clean for long! There is so much work when it comes to children. Sometimes it feels undaunting…like everything is unfinished. Deadlines can’t be put off when someone is sick or has a recital. Thank goodness for the night! (Getting more sleep in 2017 is my number one resolution! I’ll let you know how that goes.)
Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this?
Before the twins were born, the older 3 were doing their own laundry and chores. With the arrival of the twins we all had to step it up even more. The more my husband and I teach them, the more we can all accomplish. They are ever a bit more independent and self-sufficient. We take turns doing the dishes and making meals — it’s helped all of us, for sure. It takes time to teach them, but the rewards now, and in the future are invaluable. “Time” seems to always be the challenge. I just keep reminding myself to 1. be wise with my time and theirs, 2. love them, and 3. take it day by day. None of us are perfect, and I’ve learned more from my children about the person I want to be, than any book or course could teach me. We’re in this journey together…it’s a lifetime pursuit of love, happiness and joy…and I’m so glad!
Where can we see more of your artwork?