Get a behind the scene look into Kristin's creative process. Read through thoughts, inspiration, and process notes that will bring her canvas to life!

Part 1: What's in the Mind of an Artist?

An exploration of what is in the mind of this artist. Follow Kristin on a series of articles that will distill, explain, even uncover her point of view.

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Casual Conversation Made Difficult. 

I get this question all of the time: What goes through the mind of an artist?  I find this to be a funny question, perhaps funny only because I have trouble finding a quick, authentic answer. In that moment where I am confronted with a curious stare and a bout of silence, my mind takes a  nano second to get lost in thoughts of (but not limited to): my process, my message, takes a tour of my imagination--- and yet no words seem to align with my passion for my work. Left in a mad dash to stick with the beat of conversation, I scrounge up the words "I love creating portraiture" or something like " I'm really influenced by pop  art". I even feel let down by my response. 

Two Parts: A Click and a Clash.

So let's cut to the chase, the trite responses aren't from a lack of thought. Quite to the contrary, if anything, it's more of an over thought. In all honesty, it is the ultimate fear of not being valid.  A fear that is enough to scare most out of ever putting their work into the world.  So when I am asked 'what is going through my mind when I'm creating'-- I experience something as close to stage-fright as I can imagine.  Cursed with a love of introspection and the want to influence, creates a click and clash that drives my creative process. 'It' becomes addictive, self-directed swing of energy. 'It' craves trial and error and the unpredictable end result only drives the process to a better product (Taleb 226).  After all, art needs an audience to survive. 

Isolation + Need of Validation.

There is a comfortable isolation that is inherent to creating art.  A large part of you could hide in the studio forever. And then there is an equally, if not larger part of you, that seeks validation, a motivation to keep on creating. The very thought that the world could ignore your blood, sweat, and tears is what most often drives 'us' to an inaction. I have learned (and in the process of still learning) that practicing the courage putting yourself in the line of judgement, is just as important as the hours you spend perfecting your craft. 

Books and Books: Staying Inspired.

Staying inspired requires you to stay hungry for a constant search of ideas. Reading is what helps me clarify interests, shifts in perspectives, and lends itself to the ability to explore fresh ideas. I find the act of reading guides --almost calms-- my thought process to the point of motivation to create. Because words are such a large part of what fuels my process, I am going to use these impactful books to frame my thoughts. These are the books that have gotten me steps closer to becoming that 'uninhibited doer' (Taleb 226) that I strive to become.  

Taleb, Nassim Nicholas, 2012 "History Written by the Losers." Antifragility; Things That Gain from Disorder: Random House: New York

A Little Town Made Big Ideas.


"There was one good thing about growing up in a little town outside of Philadelphia; my imagination had no choice but to flourish."



"There was one good thing about growing up in a little town outside of Philadelphia; my imagination had no choice but to flourish." Not having much to do, I had no choice but to create.  I was always a doer; didn't really have interest in sitting around. If I wasn't making a mess somewhere, I wasn't happy. My parents and I had a contractual rule --seeing how they were beyond neat and I was beyond messy--  I could make anything just as long as I cleaned up. I believe that rule is still in effect today...

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Things haven't changed too much some 20 years later. Just my zip code and the fact that the ocean is less than a mile from where I type. I still enjoy a suburban culture. I'm not into the extremes of hard city living and crave no isolation of a rural setting. As a northern transplant here in a tiny beach town in South Florida, I found a place where I could live on vacation. Yes, I know you can't out run your responsibilities BUT you can live where the lifestyle supports your healthy state of mind. And that's what the beach does for me. It supports a sense of calmness, so I can concentrate on my creative process. 

I might not get to the beach all the time, or even once a week, but living by the water was always a goal. I just followed a tiny instinct that yelled that there would be peace of mind waiting on the coastline. I am closer to my thoughts with just enough distraction.  I don't need much, just the feeling that a project isn't too far away. 



If You Teach, Students Will Learn.

"Teaching... It energizes my own process, all the while inspiring others --What could be better?"

There is something very invigorating about having an audience of curious minds who are ready to learn what you love to do! What could be better? Having a background in art education really added another level to my creativity. It's one thing to be creative, but it is a whole other ball game when you can influence others through your craft. Art by its nature is isolating-- teaching a classroom of aspiring creatives works twofold; it energizes my own process all the while inspiring others.

The classroom is so alive with life, questions, and obstacles. No two classes are ever the same, no matter how similar the subject matter. A classroom's dynamic is constantly changing, constantly reminding you that it is impossible to plan for everything --you just have to read, react, and follow your instincts. 

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"I thought everyone grew up with an art teacher?"

It wasn't until later in life that I realized just how many have gone unsupported in their creative endeavors. So having the opportunity to encourage others creativity is a privilege.  I very much identify with the philosophy: Where there is curiosity there is potential talent. 

"Teaching is a way to overcome the all-too-common idea that artistic skill is a 'gift' that is handed to only the 'lucky'."

Nothing motivates me more than to overcome the notion that artistic talent is bestowed upon a select few individuals. When a student is scared to create, it makes me teach a little bit harder. Overcoming such stereotypes is like running up a the proverbial hill, but more often than not these preconceived notions serve only to assuage the feelings of self-doubt. If I can get a student to overcome these feelings of self-doubt and just practice, I know I did my job. 

Irrefutably genetics play a part in our development, but it is commitment and discipline that drives our passions to new heights. Consider that your creativity could be just a couple hours of practice away!

The Sharpest Tool In the Shed: Choosing Materials Wisely.

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"Painting allows me to follow a sense of authenticity, something that I never found with other mediums."


College let me play in as many different studios as I could find. I made a conscious decision to take advantage of every resource possible and learn every process I could. Printmaking had to be the most laborious. Sculpture was the most uncomfortable. Ceramics was probably the easiest for me to pick up. But painting-- I just knew one day I would just be able to figure it out. With each canvas I learn a little bit more. Each canvas teaches me something new. There is an exciting point of discovery and a sense freedom in my practice that keeps me hopping onto the next canvas. 


Painting connects me to a sense of authenticity, something that I never found with other mediums. Process is always great, but nothing compares when your product matches your vision.  When it is the vision that pulls you, you know you are on the right path. 

Like no other medium, it is paint that lets me explore the quickness of expression. A painting matures into a compilation of moments. One moment on top of another moment visually documents the steps I take to execute my vision. Making the materials I choose inextricably linked to my end product.


House paint?


Yep. A little latex paint never hurt anybody! It gives me the speed that I love. You have to work quickly and commit to the direction of your paint almost instantaneously.  The strings of latex connect the very beginning of a brushstroke. It produces a sense of energy like no other medium. You will find how the dripping effect creates a tension between the background and foreground. One of my favorite works Silent Oppression is a great example of this naturalistic perspective. 


I love really intense color. I love to build complex, full, rich color-- really because I am so fascinated with dramatic contrasts. So building color becomes a natural consequence. Glazing allows me to build without covering layers beforehand. I embrace layers before and invite the viewer in to the process that happened before they got there. I think of each layer as a lesson, an idea, a demonstration of time piled on top of one another. 



Acrylics allow me to achieve both a richness of color and a quickness of expression. They let me do everything I love: large expression, bold color, and fine detail. There are acrylic statins that are amazingly intense in color that I can't seem to stop using. These soft body acrylics to them that lets me love the fluidity of a brushstroke, but also allows me to slow down for the details.

Spray Paint.

Love using spray paint. The way it interacts with the latex is so fantastic. This cloud of color finds new dimensions of texture that would have otherwise been lost.  This medium helps me to achieve another note of contrast and elevates the deconstructed perspective. A great example highlighting this idea is the work titled Closer



"I Guess I'm Just the Apple..."

"Creativity is my super power. I believe that art is how I add value to the world, my vehicle to learn, and my channel to teach from." 


We always hear 'you are where you come from'-- such a largely used saying has to be rooted in some sort of truth. Or how about my personal favorite 'The apple doesn't far from the tree.' I think all of us can agree that experience is what shapes us. So when I'm asked 'why I have to create' -- it is impossible not to consult with childhood memories.  

Bear with me as I indulge in the past: I know from the very beginning, I was very comfortable alone with my ideas. I wasn't interested in socializing with the other kids. I was barely able to form a sentence. I laugh as I type that last sentence. Anyone and everyone that has been within a 100 foot radius knows that this couldn't be farther from today's reality. But for as long as I can piece together, creating was my way of communicating.

So much so that, if I wasn't coloring, making forts (complete with custom cabinetry), baking, or writing there was a good chance I was sleeping. There was always a project at hand and if there wasn't the phrase "I'm bored" was liable to fly out of my mouth. And because I have a distinct recollection of my 6'2" grandmother warning me to never use that phrase in her house again-- I learned really quickly to stay busy.

In school being creative was quite possibly the best super power to have. Every assignment I saw as an opportunity. I took it so seriously that 'project due day' turned into my own version of 'game day.' I judged the success of a project through the volume of "Ooohs" and "Aaaws" I received as I walked into the classroom.  I remember trying to play it off. too:  walking in with an overly ambitious project and acting like it was no big deal. Looking back, it had to be transparent, since projects --more often than not-- became larger than I was.

But from the eyes of a shy kid, my projects were where I felt my first sense of empowerment, of self-worth, so I was always willing to work a little harder for the best result. My identity became synonymous with what I could produce, so I just kept producing. 

Did I mention my dad was an art teacher?  Forgive the abrupt interjection, but I hate to lead with that fact. No one seems to listen to the work that it takes to develop the craft. I often find myself fighting the notion that I was simply born into a 'gift' instead of celebrating a lifetime of learning. 

My First Medium: Chocolate Pudding.

At the ripe old age of three, I loved paint so much that I began eating it.  So my parents decided to arm me with chocolate pudding instead of acrylics. A masterpiece out of chocolate pudding was just another day in the Pavlick household.