What do you do when you can’t stop the clanging in your head, when the voice becomes a chorus so loud that you can no longer keep your day job? Mercartto artist Loretta Kaltenhauser shares with us how she went from office worker to pursuing life as a full-time artist, one who has been recognized with multiple awards, including numerous best-in-class for abstract art.
How did you start painting?
I worked in an office environment for many years and never had a creative outlet. Then the urge to paint began to infiltrate my dreams. Almost every night I would dream that I was standing in front of a blank canvas and paint would magically appear on it. The dreams became more detailed over a period of time and it was an adventure going to sleep to see what the next dream would bring! I realize it was an indicator from the Universe to finally leave my office job and start creating full time. My husband encouraged me to hand in my resignation at work and a few weeks later we moved from Toronto to Cobourg. I buried myself in the studio and began experimenting with acrylics and various other texture mediums. Completely self taught, I have now been painting full time for six years and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Tell us about your work
I use brushes, palette knives and scrapers to manipulate acrylic paint on canvas creating works that are either purely abstract or have landscape elements to them. My approach to painting is purely natural and spontaneous rather than deliberate. My goal is not to document subjects or to make statements, but to make an emotional connection with the viewer allowing them to explore their own spirit and to inspire them as well.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
When I first started painting full time, that’s all that I focused on from morning until night. Now I make sure that I don’t stay buried in my studio for too long. I get out and connect with nature each day taking year round walks to clear my thoughts, take in the sheer beauty around me, and enjoy the precious, present moment. I believe this balance helps keep my creative energy fresh and exciting.
Who or what inspires you?
I love that quote by Jack London... “ You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club”. Although I’m absolutely elated that I can create full time now, I certainly do not wake up every morning inspired skipping into the studio. I find more often than not my inspiration comes after I’ve actually started a piece and then it kicks in big time. Regardless of how I feel any given day, I just go into the studio and paint. It’s amazing how often I may have a bad start to the morning and then by noon my spirits are soaring and I see the world in a brand new light.
What makes you happiest about your art?
When I am creating and in the zone, I am totally focused and at peace. It gives my life purpose and keeps me busy. It’s very gratifying hearing all the wonderful, positive comments from people who purchase my works and bring them to their loving, forever homes. That’s what creating is all about for me...to share a piece of my heart and soul with you.