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(Image courtesy of Emily Ramirez)

Artist of the Week: Emily Ramirez

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Emily Ramirez will be teaching a class at The Works Seattle on June 22 called ‘Watercolor 101: Cactus Practice’.

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
Emily Ramirez: I’ve been painting since I was a kid. Mostly I use watercolor, although I’ve dabbled in acrylics. My crayon game is pretty strong these days, on account of my two small children who cannot be trusted with anything else, and have a tendency to draw on all the things. But, in full seriousness, given an opportunity, I’ll lose myself in just about anything. Being creative is such a calming, grounding experience for me, and accessing that mindset can be as simple as arranging colorful stones on the beach, or painting them later on after my tiny graffiti artists have been put to bed.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
Typically I sketch the general shape out, then I’ll work bit by bit until I surpass the inevitable “this is horrible I need to burn it” stage. Every single thing I’ve ever painted has reached that point, and not everything has escaped the flames (okay, the recycling bin). But I try to work a little every night, even if it’s just a few minutes at a time, until the tiny voice in the back of my head screams “staaaaahp!” like that chick from Jersey Shore.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
Nature. When I was maybe 10 someone gave me a Georgia O’Keeffe book, and it just felt like home. Flowers have always been my favorite, but I’ve recently been really into cacti, which has been great. Also most of my flowers don’t make it past the “this is horrible I need to burn it” stage, but I think that’s because in my head I’m comparing them to that damn book. Thank God she didn’t get famous for her cacti.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
Food. Even if I never end up going to any of the places, reading about food makes me excited to try and cook new things.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
That’s tricky. Each piece of art is like a little time capsule. I can look at something I painted and remember what kind of a mood I was in, and maybe the music I was listening to at the time. There are some pieces that I’ve painted when I’ve been sad, and others that were painted in a lighter place. In that sense, they’re all special because for me they tell a secret story that only the paper and I know. Is that weird? That feels weird.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Honestly, having kids. I suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of our second, and I got back into painting as a way of coping. Art is so therapeutic, and without the harsh reminder that I needed to take care of myself, I’m not sure I would have gotten back into it.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
I document the things that don’t make me twitchy on my Instagram page, and I have a website where people can buy prints and some originals.

Check out my website and my instagram.

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I’ve been teaching classes through The Works, which I love. I hope to keep doing that for as long as people keep showing up. But mostly I just plan on painting a little every day, and enjoying the process.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Hot, and strong, with a hefty splash of creamer.