An Interview with Kayleigh
How would you describe your art in a few sentences?
I paint inspirational artwork in both abstract and representational styles that are informed by a desire to create a sense of uplift and light. Shifting between painting Plein Air and in the studio, I paint recognizable stories and Biblical spiritual concepts. My signature style is cubist, with select areas of heavy impasto that creates a stained glass effect. I fracture an idea into different facets of interpretation, creating a light-filled prismatic effect. I hope my art will impart a sense of joy and uplift. I love to take a scene or idea and tell the viewer something new; present it in a new, beautiful way. The visual arts is a means for expressing the beauty of Soul, not as a personal creator, but as a celebration of what divine Mind has already made.
What are the ideas/philosophies/beliefs that undergird your art?
I turn in prayer to God, before starting to paint. My prayer is to reflect what God (divine Mind) has already made. I work out from an infinite mindset - in which there is no lack, but instead, where abundant good is there and in reach if we only have the confidence to claim it.
What do you hope to accomplish with your art?
I hope to create art with such a quality of excellence that will stir curiosity in the viewer and point him/her to God as the source. My mission, or my “why,” is to create an uplifting, healing atmosphere. One way to do that is to create surroundings in homes, offices, and Christian Science Nursing facilities that will uplift and inspire by pointing the searching heart to God. I happen to make art as a way to accomplish this goal. If my art can contribute in any way to the healing atmosphere of a place, and thereby reduce human suffering in the world, then I have achieved my goal.
How has spirituality influenced or impacted your art?
I see that creativity, originality, work ethic, exposure, and supply are all functions of the divine Mind, our true origin that we all reflect, so we should feel no personal (ego) responsibility to perform in a certain way. It takes the pressure off. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science says it like this, “You have simply to preserve a scientific, positive sense of unity with your divine source, and daily demonstrate this” (Pulpit and Press 4:9–11).
Milton Simon says it well in his article What am I?, in the September 22, 1951 Christian Science Sentinel. “Do you falsely take pride in feeling that you are self-made? To be self-made would be impossible, for God created man. Man really possesses nothing of his own. All belongs to God. But as reflection man understands, and hence possesses, the affluence and attributes of Deity.”
This spiritual outlook also gives a healthy sense of competition - com (with) petition (prayer). I am not threatened by other artists, since the competition encourages all of us to rise to more excellence, improving the quality of everyones’ work. Also, on the note of competition, Christian Science teaches the invaluable lesson of infinity. The fact that we are drawing on an unlimited Source of supply of inspiration, opportunity, discipline, wealth, and resources, we can generously support, promote, and encourage fellow artists. There is no lack, but instead unlimited good for all, and our power for good grows as we unselfishly and fearlessly help our fellow man to thrive.
As an artist, I quickly realized that I knew nothing about business or how to sell my work. So, I started reading books on business strategy and leveraging your work in order to multiply the good. One of those books taught me to stick to a strong “why” - your mission; the cause that’s bigger than yourself; your reason for making the art. If you don’t have a “why” yet, get one. Then stick to that “why” and have everything you do support that mission. Don’t worry about trying to please everyone. Stay true to your mission and the people who believe what you believe will find you. This will be your most loyal customer base.
I saw my biggest weakness upon graduation as lack of a clear sense of direction. The most defining moment for me was when I was able to discern what was my work to do, and what was not my work to do. Once I got very clear on that, I was able to choose a direction and start to work effectively.
I noticed there was a gap in the religious artwork available to us today. It’s either from the old masters, who depicted scenes quite literally; or it’s today’s artists that tend to go totally abstract, which can leave the viewer feeling a little lost. So I aim to bridge the gap. I like to paint Biblical themes in a prismatic stained-glass style, which abstracts it slightly but still keeps it recognizable. I love capturing the effect of light as it plays on different surfaces. I love creating depth and atmosphere by playing with focus and always making sure that there is a strong sense of light in each painting.
It’s so rewarding to hear feedback that my mission (helping to create an uplifting, healing atmosphere) is being fulfilled. For example, I was humbled and encouraged by a friend who works at a Christian Science Nursing facility in California where several of my paintings are displayed. This friend wrote to me that she had gotten this message from a staff member, “Today I observed a patient engrossed in an abstract painting of a cross by Kayleigh Mayes Ebenrick. It was a gift to me to catch this moment. There was a quiet stillness in the hallway at that time, and the observer, alone with her thoughts and the painting, seemed transported into the art itself. The presence of the art really does bless us all.” Needless to say, my heart was singing for the rest of the week!
Finding my “personal style” was a challenge for many years. Finally a friend suggested I read “The Isotropic View” by Barbara Cook Spencer, and it helped immensely.
Making art is the easy part. Learning how to leverage your art online in order to have a consistent income stream is another thing entirely. Even if you want to major in fine art, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the business side -- learning how to make reproduction prints of the art, setting up an e-commerce website, and engaging a drop-ship operation so that you can generate passive income. This way, each artwork you make will continue to work for you far beyond the hours you put in to make the original. It’s a much wiser use of time since it changes the effort-to-profit ratio from 1:1 to 1:sky’s the limit. And as for pricing your work, a friend of mine told me, “If you don’t value your art, nobody else will either.” I took this to heart and have priced my artwork competitively, and that has turned out to be a success.