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 email@example.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?
Lucinda Caldwell: I fell in love with art in high school; in college, I always eyed painting classes at a neighboring college, Rhode Island School of Design, but I wasn't able to take classes with my lacrosse practice schedule. My junior year of college, I fell ill with a mysterious illness that doctors couldn't figure out. I ended up having to take a full year off from school during what would have been my senior year. During a year where my body was too weak and tired to do many activities that I had previously identified myself through, I took out my paintbrush. In a difficult time, painting brought me a sense of peace and self-love. Today, painting continues to be a precious space where I experience a great sense of self-love and healing! I paint with acrylics and watercolors.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I rarely outline my acrylic paintings before diving in; sometimes, it backfires — but it's the way I like to roll. I approach many things in my life this way. And, with acrylics, you can just paint over with layers until it feels right! Usually I daydream and chew on ideas for days or weeks or months at a time. Sometimes it feels like I am procrastinating, but then, when the time feels right in my body, the painting seems to pour out of me. I can have a hard time designating time for my creative process (as I know many artists can lament over) — often, it feels like my art can be pushed to the side. So, to have a juicy creative process, sometimes I need to take a trip outside of the city, to Bainbridge or the mountains, and kind of recenter myself and my priorities.
The different stages of the creative process are both brilliant and depressing. I experience highs of getting into my flow state and lows of thinking my work is horrible and wondering what the heck I am doing with my life. Usually, through creating art and connecting with something outside myself, I come to realizations about other aspects of my life — not by directly trying to problem solve, but rather through letting go and getting lost in work. The creative process is certainly not all rainbows and butterflies, but the highs are something magical.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from.
Nature is my inspiration. I don't feel a huge pull towards painting architecture or portraits or abstract things — but I love to explore nature and animals through my paintbrush.
Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
Yes! Giddy by NATURE! (The name of my art/writing/events business)
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
An orca watercolor painting I created three years ago (that I now sell as stickers) is a special one; I painted it when I was processing the sadness around Tahlequah and her dead calf that she was carrying around. I felt hopeless and helpless. This might sound a bit dramatic, but I remember crying myself to sleep one night after reading an article in the PCC newsletter about the state of the Southern Resident orcas diminishing in numbers due to not getting enough to eat — the article was sparked by the story of Tahlequah, a southern resident killer whale who, in deep mourning, carried her calf who had passed away for several weeks. I took this emotion and decided to paint the orcas. I felt connected to them in a way, and even though painting sometimes feels passive (it is not as though I am banging on the doors of government representatives), I feel an energy exchange and connection when I paint that can be quite special.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
As I mentioned in the first question — getting sick in college and not being able to play lacrosse caused me to dive back into art. I do not think I would be painting today if it had not been for my life being turned upside down when I was twenty years old.
If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
I sell my art on my website, , and I hope to begin to sell it in local shops around Seattle!
What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
Through my business, Giddy by Nature, I combine art, writing, and events to inspire holistic and intentional living. I am really excited about hosting pop-up painting classes in parks around Seattle (you can check them out on my Instagram, @giddybynature or my website!). I began teaching classes on Zoom during the early months of the pandemic, and it has been super fun to shift to in-person paint parties!! I also am very excited to host an Art, Mindfulness, and Leadership camp for young girls this summer — it is a space for young female athletes to explore other aspects of their identity through art, mindfulness and nature.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
I love this question because it really sheds light on Seattle life. I joke that on the east coast, baristas may look at you like you have two heads if you make vegan and gluten-free requests; but, in Seattle, alternative milk is assumed, and non-coffee drinkers are the crazy ones. I prefer these priorities :) I LOVE an almond milk cappuccino!