Candice Wagner

Member since: 2017


Q: Have you always been creative?
A: I have a vivid memory of painting out in the backyard with my mom on the picnic table. I have still have the painting she did then of a circus scene. Doing some kind of artwork at home was part of growing up at our house. I have no idea what I painted, but my mom was sure to admire it and encourage me. At Christmas time, she would load the ping pong table with all sorts of supplies and encourage us to create gifts for family members. (There were 8 of us!)

I had a high school art teacher who told me I would never be an artist, so I didn’t do anything for many years. 22 years ago, Mary Selvig offered a beginner watercolor class through Community Ed. and, on a lark, I took it and fell in love with watercolor, with her encouragement, and have been painting watercolors ever since.
Q: Why did you become an artist?
 Good question. Part of it is certainly to prove to Mr. Ireland that I am indeed an artist, though I often have my doubts…, but mostly because it brings great joy and satisfaction to create, especially when I share that love with my children and grandchildren and see them find great enjoyment in creating art as well. The first thing the grandkids ask when they visit is if they can make something in my studio.

Q: What is your most important artist tool?
A: Besides the basics, probably my black technical pen.  I did pen and ink before I did watercolor, and find I can “save” most paintings if I can do some penwork over them.

Q: Is there an element of art you enjoy working with most? Why?
I do not seem to have a mind for all the elements of design and composition–I’m like a musician that can’t read music, though I have absorbed some things along the way. What I love is trying to capture the magic of childhood on paper, perhaps because I had such an idyllic childhood, and I have 10 grandchildren who offer me inspiration all the time, not only with the charm of their antics, but with the innocent and bold way they approach their own artwork. I learn from them as much as they learn from me.

Q: How do you know when your work is finished?
A: I am my own worst critic and I’ll keep fussing with a work until I don’t see any more flaws (or until I am sure I am ruining my painting by overworking.). I often don’t know when to quit.
Q: Is there a piece that you are most proud of?
A: It wasn’t my best painting by any means, but it brought the most joy. I have a friend who lost her child at 11 years old–born with many challenges… I never met Sammy–I met Erin shortly after he died, but she gave me the funeral brochure so I’d have his picture and story, and Erin would often talk about how Sammy, who was confined to a wheelchair and had to be fed, loved frogs and butterflies, and rainbows had a special meaning to them. I felt driven to paint a picture of Sammy playing by a pond of frogs, rainbow above, Sammy all healed and happy as a lark, butterflies flying in the air, as a gift for Erin and her husband. It’s really the only painting of a person I did without a photograph to work from (other than his face), and it still brings them such joy–I hear about it all the time.
Q: How do you overcome creative blocks?
A: As I do with any problem–I jump right in and take a baby step. Perusing through other people’s artwork, or going out in nature often spark an idea.
Q: Where do you see yourself in the future?  

A: I tend to live in the present and it’s probably a flaw of mine that I don’t dream much of what could be. I love Susan Branch and all her cookbooks and writings about England and Martha’s Vineyard written in calligraphy with little drawings everywhere. I love to write as well as paint, so I have something similar in mind–maybe just stories about our children and grandchildren.

Q: Name three artists you admire.
A: Andrew Wyeth, Marian Henjum, Joyce Hicks and I’ve already mentioned, I love Susan Branch. (I know, I can’t count.)