Tawnee Corning discovered the rich and saturated pigments from oil paints to bring her ideas to life. She draws inspiration from 60s/70s gig posters, album covers, fabrics, wallpapers, and liquid light shows, Dutch still-life paintings, and classical figurative paintings. Her bright and bold paintings have the details to make the viewer take a closer look.
How did you find yourself on an artist’s path?
Ever since I was little, I have been drawn to do all things creatively and artistically.
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Why painting? How does that medium best express what you want to communicate through art?
I did a lot of ink drawings and acrylic paintings before jumping into oil paints in my early teens, but once I discovered oils, I haven’t turned back.
The rich, saturated pigments give me the ability to really bring my ideas to life. The ability to bring a subject to life and make it look like it’s a real graspable object from the way I layer the paint absolutely amazes me every time. It is incredibly challenging and I feel like I learn something new every single time that I paint. I have this insatiable desire to learn every technique possible.
The thought of spending my life trying to master the art of painting sounds absolutely wonderful.
What inspires you to create?
Anything and everything! Reoccurring themes found in my work are nature, outer space, philosophy, gardening, music, my children, dreams.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I draw inspiration from 60s/70s gig posters, album covers, fabrics, wallpapers, and liquid light shows, Dutch still-life paintings, and classical figurative paintings.
What do you do differently? What is your signature that makes your work stand out as yours?
My work is frequently full of bold, vibrant color.
Do you plan your work out ahead of time, or do you just dive in with your materials and start playing?
All of my paintings have a lot of planning before I can get to the actual painting. Especially the still life paintings! With those, I envision the still life and grow the elements. I start all of the produce and flowers from seeds in my house, transplant them to the garden, harvest them, then arrange them and photograph them to use as painting references, all before ever touching the canvas.
How do you manage your creative time? Do you schedule start and stop times? Or work only when inspired?
Things have changed a LOT since having children. For a while, when I was pregnant with my now 9-month-old, I was getting up at 3 a.m. to get a few hours of painting in before my 2- and 5-year-olds woke up for the day. Now, I try to stay up for a couple of hours after I get the kids to bed to get some time in. I don’t have time to wait for inspiration, I just need to take advantage of whatever time I do get.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
Yes! I am incredibly lucky to have a spare room in our house as my home studio. It overlooks my main garden, and is filled with plants, and also all of my carboys full of fermenting wine.
How often do you start a new project? Do you work actively on more than one project at a time?
I usually have a new larger painting started every 2-3 months, and in that time, I will also do a couple of smaller paintings to break things up.
How has your work changed over time?
I have become much more efficient with my time over the years, so I have a step-by-step process that I typically follow in order to execute my paintings. From this, I feel that my work has become much more put together and intentional.
Do you critique your own work? What is your process?
Oh yes. Probably too much. Most of the time, I un-focus my vision to see if the painting has the right values, or I take a photo of it with my phone to see it with a different “set of eyes”, sometimes I’ll look at them in a mirror, and other times I’ll ask my husband’s opinion.
Do you think that creativity is a part of human nature or is it something that must be nurtured and learned?
Oh yes, I think creativity is the most important part of being human, but I also believe that it needs to be nurtured and encouraged in order to thrive. I have been fortunate enough to always have support of my interest in the arts. Encouragement from the start is what helped it stick and really bloom into something more than a hobby.
Where can people see your work?
You can find all links and upcoming show information through my website: www.tawneecorning.com I frequently post photos of paintings in progress on social media.
Other things about me:
I am a stay-at-home-mom of a 6-year-old, 3-year-old, and 9-month-old.
I am a gardener and I started my own seed business in September of 2020. My seed business is called Headwaters Seeds www.headwatersseeds.com and has over 100 varieties of seeds for gardening, as well as some homemade skin care items.
I have recently published my own recipe book for cooking, baking, canning, fermenting, etc., that also features some of my paintings.
I have been with my husband for 11 years. He is a fantastic songwriter and musician. We met when his band Kitchi Boogie was playing. It was love at first sight and we have been together ever since.
Interview posted March 2023
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