Takeyce Walter is an award winning contemporary American painter (born 1980, Jamaica), media producer, and art instructor living and working in beautiful upstate New York. Driven to create from an early age, Walter has been producing art for as long as she can remember. Currently, her focus has been on the natural landscape of the Northeast. Walter’s paintings present that landscape in all its glory – flowing rivers, majestic skies, and picturesque lakes. There is a great sense of familiarity, tranquility, and reverence in each piece.
We asked Takeyce a few questions to learn more about her work, inspiration, and upcoming projects!
Q: How did you start your journey?
Takeyce: Being creative and expressing myself through art has always been an integral part of what makes me, me. I recall making art since early childhood and I’ve continued to create in some capacity for over 35 years – personally, for work, school, and the past sixteen years as a professional artist. The art career journey began around 2005/6 when I was inspired by the Daily Painters art movement. After a few years away from artmaking, my husband encouraged me to make time for my passion. I was inspired by the artists painting and sharing their work daily on blogs during that time, and decided to set a goal to paint at least one day a week and share my work on my blog. After a short time, that weekly commitment grew and so did my collection of paintings. I connected with local art organizations that offered opportunities to share my work through Art in Public Spaces exhibitions in non-traditional venues, member shows, and group shows. Eventually, as my skills grew and I developed relationships in the local art community, additional opportunities became available. In 2013, I began teaching workshops locally. This was a tremendous influence on the growth and maturity of my artwork, as teaching required critical inquiry, research, and articulation of my process to effectively share with my students.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
Takeyce: I am in constant awe of the beauty and nature of our planet. I largely find inspiration in my little corner of the world in my natural surroundings. The beauty of the outdoors can be overwhelming at times, but also meditative and restorative for me. I am fortunate to live in an area of the state that’s rich in beautifully wild places that inspire my work. I also find inspiration in the art-making process. Most of the joy I receive from painting comes from the problem-solving task of taking a multi-dimensional source and resolving ways to capture it in a two-dimensional space. The process is challenging, meditative, and fulfilling.
Q: As a local artist, what has it been like to work with the Hyde Collection?
Takeyce: I first visited The Hyde Collection in the early 2000s for a college studio art class assignment. I was tasked with visiting a major museum to copy a masterwork to gain an understanding of the mechanics of a painting. Being a recent transplant from the downstate area, I immediately thought of another familiar “major museum” but did not have the time to visit. I cannot remember exactly how I learned of the Hyde, but as soon as I entered the space, I was so impressed with the museum and its collection; thrilled to have found such a gem so close to home. I completed a little color pencil copy of Seurat’s Banks of the Seine Near Courbevoie for that assignment. Years later, I have worked with The Hyde in multiple capacities. I recall my great enthusiasm when I was invited to be an Artist in Residence in 2018 and 2019. Consequently, teaching a few workshops over those two summers. I was also a co-juror for the High School Juried Show exhibition, selecting works from among our area’s most talented art students. Most recently, I have had the pleasure of serving on The Hyde’s Innovator’s Council. I’ve continued and will continue to work with The Hyde due to its commitment to making art accessible to everyone in our community.
Q: Do you feel that your work has been influenced by other artists?
Takeyce: I believe as artists, our work is influenced by all the other artists before us, familiar or not, as well as our contemporaries. Like many artists who grew up in the mid-eighties to nineties, one of my first art influences was Bob Ross. I watched The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross on PBS religiously and read many of his books. Ross’ techniques and philosophies on creating art resonated with me. Watching his show and painting along, with his soothing sing-song voice, providing guidance gave insight into his artistic theories of immitationalism and emotionalism. Bob Ross attached emotion to his representational landscapes as he created his “happy little trees”. He talked of nature with such reverence and admiration, which was exactly the way I felt when in nature. I later learned of the Impressionists like Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, John Henry Twachtman, and Post-impressionists like Manet, van Gogh, and Gauguin. I would frequently borrow illustrated catalogs from the library to study and copy their works. I was intrigued by their work and painting processes. The Impressionists’ method of painting outdoors from life was a new concept to me and I was captivated by how lively the paintings were – they looked so fresh and spontaneous! My approach to painting has been influenced by many artists, including the famous and some lesser-known Impressionists, Realists, and Abstract Expressionists. A few other painters that come to learn more about are Henry Ossawa Tanner, Charles C. Dawson, Tom Thomson, Wolf Kahn, and Emily Mason. I admire different aspects from each; Thomson’s expressive use of color and texture, Kahn’s bold and loose marks, Tanner’s mastery of light, and Mason’s use of color.
Q: Are you currently working on any special projects? upcoming shows?
Takeyce: Yes! Creative February, my annual daily art project is in full swing, and I am excited at the work being produced. What started in 2014 as a personal project to help me dedicate more time to my art practice, Creative February has grown to become a more communal art project. Artists everywhere are invited to participate by taking time each day to honor their creative selves by creating art in the media of their choice and sharing the work with the branded hashtag #CreativeFebruary. I created a Facebook group as a place for more focused support of artists who are brave enough to take on the task. I have been so thrilled to see the level of engagement grow each year. I use the month to experiment with different media and techniques, as well as build up a body of work for future shows.
The works created this month will be featured in my upcoming solo exhibition at the Art Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY later this year. It’s also an opportunity for participating artists to show one or two of their pieces created during Creative February in conjunction with my exhibition. So, if you’re an artist and you’re looking for some inspiration or motivation for this month, please join us!