Ebb+Flow Artist Feature: Lynda Howitt
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It’s really about freedom. Freedom to express. Freedom to create. Freedom to explore.
Lynda Howitt, a contemporary abstract painter, was the first WA artist to complete her month-long North Midlands Ebb+Flow residency earlier this year. Living in Geraldton, Carnamah was a contrasting landscape to her home, but Lynda found the same things that attracted her to the ocean, were just as strong in the rural region.
“What I like about the ocean most, is the freedom of it, the vastness… and Carnamah has that same freedom too, but in a different way. It has a different feel to the coast… the nature that surrounds you is different, but it still has that vastness, that remoteness and it inspires me in different ways. I’m very attracted to that and continue to learn. It’s the path we travel… the journey… for me that’s what does it. I explore art as well as self.”
Lynda stands in the fields in Carnamah. Photo by Lynda Howitt.
Lynda has been creating art her entire life and started her creative career by studying a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in graphic design – a more stable financial career choice than fine art design – but still had a real passion for graphic design and incorporates some of those skills in her art today. Her BA was also where she acquired skills in marketing, the business side of creating, and the importance of design to be attractive and offer visual harmony.
“All those other skills you need to work your artistic practice I learned in corporate life. And I bring those skills to my art work now. In the graphic industry, you are always creating something for the client, working to their brief. There is no brief in painting. I have no idea how a work will turn out at the start… no idea what it will look like. But I still use all those skills I learned in that other life. You have to wear many hats to be a (commercially) successful artist. You have to have success in selling, in marketing, it’s not just about painting.”
A close-up of one of Lynda’s signature Soulcircles. Photo by Lynda Howitt.
Speaking on her artistic practice now, Lynda explained it was what she feels that is the most important aspect of her work.
“Spirituality… is very important to me… I see my art as a way of connecting with my soul, my inner self. It’s big part of why I paint. To make that connection. I find painting is a bridge to our natural state of being, that flow, ease and grace. And I have a real passion to unlock that in others. To enable people to give themselves permission to create and explore for themselves. It’s what my workshops are all about. I’m not teaching a technique of art making but using art making as a tool to self-expression. I focus on providing a path to create and through the process make a bridging connection with their souls. Giving them the freedom to explore.”
“It’s why I focus on the abstract… it’s a feeling more than something specific. It’s free flowing… intuitive visual expression. I don’t plan on how it will look. It’s the process, not the end result. It has to be that way using my ink and water technique. You have to let go of control but in a good way. It’s a good thing.”
Lynda’s is also well-known for her workshops, and her passion and inspiration for these brings just as much joy and learning to herself as to those attending them.
“I find that every workshop brings a new clarity and direction to my outlook. It’s just another thing I like about them… the reciprocal inspiration. Experiencing so many different angles on how others see the world. It’s all positive, and great for the residency in how to approach my work.”
Community members in Carnamah participate in one of Lynda’s workshops. Photo by Lynda Howitt.
As for any advice or experiences Lynda can share to others about her creative journey to others working their own paths or curious about life as a regional Western Australian artist.
“The residency meant I could focus on my workshops, exhibition, and take time to explore my work and spend time in the bush and in nature. That’s important to me. I love living on the coast, the ocean has a deep connection for me. Being an artist in regional WA offers a sense of freedom. I’m inspired by daily walks on the beach which starts the process for me… getting into nature, not just the studio. I love evoking a sense of self in others, using a blend of art, design and spirituality to inspiring their inner wellbeing… offering a path to their own freedom.”
To find out more about the Regional Arts Network, visit regionalartswa.org.au/programs/regional-arts-network