Using Creamy textures, simple line and neutral tones the work of artist Kayla Gale is beautifully minimal. As a regular contributor to Artist Meets Mother through her account @slow.season, Kayla’s eye for simplicity inspires me every time her work appears on my feed. I am excited to feature her work here today for our first Artist Meets Mother interview. Kayla is currently balancing raising a toddler with being a practicing artist and I am interested to see how she manages this and if her experience of motherhood affects her daily practice.
Tell us a bit about your art. What inspires you to create?
Lately my painting has been really gestural; I try to work intuitively and freely. I’m feeling comfortable with that and learning so much about myself in the process. Little, often-missed things inspire me to create. Going for a walk with my daughter I might see a color in the trees, or some shapes along the horizon line. It might not be visual at all but a mood that drives me to create. I love the translations of felt things to seen things. My daughter inspires me a lot.
Has motherhood changed your experience as an artist?
I have to admit, before my daughter came along it had been almost a decade before I did any art at all. Motherhood has taught me to slow down and embrace the simple things. Watching my daughter learn and grow has given me a renewed zest for life. Seeing her become the person she is going to be, so beautifully apologetically, has given me the courage to be who I am, too. Really, my daughter is the true artist, I am just learning from her.
Tell us a bit about your process. Do you involve your children with your art at all or is your time spent creating time for yourself?
Most of my real art time is done in my studio by myself. I’ll sneak upstairs after my daughter falls asleep, turn on some quiet music and begin. I used to have a bit of guilt over my private art time but once I started to realize the emotional benefits of it and how it enriches the rest of my day, I stopped feeling that guilt. It’s my battery recharge.
I love to create art with my daughter too; I think its wonderful quality time with her. I love seeing her appreciation for color and her desire to get messy and enjoy it without worrying about any specific outcome. I just remind myself that at her age, any and all art created around her will quickly become a collaboration, and not to take it too seriously. It’s all fun and discovery
Describe to us your workspace. Where do you create?
I work in our attic. It’s a beautiful, finished, loft-like space with a generous window and lot of character, and allows me to leave everything open and all of my supplies available. It works perfectly for me. I usually sit on the floor to paint; it allows me to spread out and move freely.
What positives does being a mother bring to your artistic practice?
Being a mother has done almost everything for me in the way of art. It has taught me how to be forgiving with my work, which I never was before. It has taught me to take things slower and do them for the pure enjoyment of doing them. It has taught me not to try to build Rome in a day, and not to take things too seriously. It has made me happy and content as a person and I think that’s really beautiful when it shows itself in art.
In turn what challenges does it bring?
A challenge of being both a mom and an artist is time. I sometimes wish I had a little more time for art, but laundry and housework calls too.
Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this?
I think keeping my priorities straight is essential. My daughter and family always comes first. Art is important to me and is a method of self-care, so I do try not to neglect it. But I will have my whole life to create; my daughter will only be this small, this innocent, this dependent on her mama during this time. Tomorrow she is already bigger. I remind myself that every day. How could I create fulfilling art if it was made during a feeling of deep guilt? When I know what is most important, and I take care of that first, other things seem to fall into place much easier.
Where can we see more of your artwork?
A website is in the works, but until then most of my work and process and a bit of the mess behind the scenes can be viewed on my Instagram, @slow.season