WKP Artist Spotlight: Rana Thomas
Rana Thomas is a talented local artist who won the Clash of the Canvas: People’s Choice Award in 2021! This year, not only will she be competing once again to defend her title, but she was also given the opportunity to showcase her artwork here at the WKP Kennedy Gallery. Her solo exhibition will be on view in Gallery I from August 31st-September 4th during the Capitol Centre’s annual BluesFest.
In anticipation, we sat down with Rana to learn more about her and her artistic practice.
What inspires your art?
I draw inspiration from many things! I'm especially inspired by plant life, greenery and landscapes. Whenever I see something that I think is useful in creating a painting, I take a photo and use it as a reference/inspiration.
How do you start an art project and what steps do you take to create it?
Most times when I sit down to start a painting, I may have a loose idea of what I want the final piece to look like but my approach is more spur of the moment - I let the brush do the work. As I lay down layers, I begin to see shapes and images and work with what’s there until the painting comes to life!
Is there a specific medium you enjoy working with?
I've used oils in the past but, these days, it’s all acrylic! I love the quick drying time acrylics offer.
Tell us about your studio set up. Where do you work?
I’ve made great use of a small space in the corner of my dining room! There is a big shelf with all my supplies and 2 rolling carts filled with tubes of paint. I have two easels but mostly use my convertible easel. I set it up horizontally which allows me to work over top of it and prevents the paint from dripping down as I work
How do you work?
I like to listen to music while I paint and have a wide variety of songs that help to get me into the creative zone. I typically paint in the evenings. Being a mom to two young kids and working full-time as a dental assistant, it can be challenging to find the time to work on paintings but I strive to incorporate painting into pockets of time, whenever I can. It can take me quite a few sittings to complete a painting from start to finish but I love the process.
How do you define success as an artist?
For me, success as an artist is being able to do what I do: balancing family, friendships, work and my passion for painting. Also, having opportunities to create art and share it with others!
Is there a specific project that you’ve made that you’re really proud of?
I submitted artwork for the City of North Bay Digital Traffic Box Initiative and my piece entitled 'Delightful' was chosen! I'm very excited to see one of my paintings on an image wrap on one of these enclosures around the city!
Are there any artists you look up to or that influence your artistic practice?
When I first started painting in my high school art program, I was very influenced by Pablo Picasso. These days, I pull inspiration from Emily Carr, Group of Seven and several Instagram artists. I have deep admiration for artists who are able to sustain a full-time career in art; it’s a lot of work!
Do you have any advice for new artists?
Get out there and do what you love and get involved in your local art community! I was always happy to make art for myself, despite frequently being told that I should share my creations with the world. Over the past couple of years, I've been sharing my art publicly and have received so much positive feedback! It's been so rewarding and encouraging. Entering W.K.P's Clash of the Canvas in 2021 and tying for first place gave me a great confidence boost and has inspired me to keep going. I've made so many new friends and met some amazing local artists through those experiences. I am very proud to be part of the art community in North Bay!