Meet Lyla Cravero, a local Pacific Northwest artist whose work is beautifully saturated in texture, and her process evokes a sense of freedom & tranquility. Lyla is one of two contemporary artists who will be featured in the group show "Palette Dreams" Thursday June 8th at Standard Goods, stop by to see her paintings and hear live music from Earth Meets Sky. We had the pleasure to learn more about her and her process in our interview here.
When did you first start painting and how did you start your career as an artist?
When did I start painting? That is is a funny question for me...I was born into a family of artists; my mother a fine arts major, painter, published illustrator and teacher...my father, a master wood carver, inventor, architect and designer. I suspect that I was painting before I was walking. My parents created a community in rural Eastern Canada and together they started a highly sought after private school, based in the arts. We were immersed in every type of artistic expression that can be imagined. Sculpture to calligraphy, pottery, stained glass, iron work, dramatic theatre, poetry...I can't even begin to put into words all that we learned. I would say that we experienced it all but that is contradictory to the teaching style, there is always more information to seek out and a never ending abundance to learn from. Actually, this year marks the 40th anniversary of our school! I guess you can say that I am where I am today because I was lucky enough to have parents with intense passion, drive and willingness to take the path less traveled.
How my career started is a very different story...don't we all rebel? Just a bit? My personal rebellion came after my entire upbringing of art immersion...I sought a life outside of our amazing artistic community. I found myself in the US, young, so far from my family and home...in the big city. Working and studying interior design. Then, migrating farther south, Costa Rica...I spent a good deal of time jumping from place to place. It was fun, full of excitement and adventure! I met my amazing husband along the way, we started a family, free spirited, living and breathing for our beautiful children...salt water and beach style. I was always making art in one way or another. Always. But, I was still fighting the path. After 10 wonderful years in the sun, we moved here to Washington. We were welcomed with beautiful mountain views and crisp cool air. So different...the change inspired me and reminded me of home. I love change and experiencing anything new. Country crossed, babies in toe, I started my regular regiment of filling our new house with art, with the goal of making it our home. It became evident that I knew what made me happy, I didn't want to fight the ingrained artistic nature that lived in me anymore. I began creating all the time. Sculpture? Yes! Paint? Yes! I painted what I saw and felt, the landscape the newness and excitement coupled with my life experiences lead me to my path path. I dove deeply into creating a new way of reviving the age old fresco style. An homage to the great artists of the past and a wink at the modern art era. Plaster and paint in the abstract. It is my line between sculpture, painting and history. It it is the avenue that finally drew me to my expression as an artist.
3 words to describe your creative style?
Honestly? Please don't take offense but, single words feel thin for what I want to say. I could do the typical "passionate", "soulful"...but I don't want too. My work is an expression of my entire life, every emotion and moment; past, present and future. Not all dramatic moments mind you, we are all living the good, bad and ugly! Simply the feelings that arise in the moment when I see something, hear something or imagine something that inspires me. Seriously, that is hard to break down into 3 words!
What artists are you most influenced by?
I am so lucky to have a LOT of extremely inspiring artists in my life, I can't possibly list them all here by a long shot! I can say that when you have a family and community of artists...you all inspire each other, learning, studying together and from each other.
What do you hope to convey to the viewer with your work?
I am very aesthetically driven...so I suppose I want people to feel a sense of balance and happiness. I love when I can create a piece of art that fits perfectly into a space. It feels like the entire space is elevated, lifted and illuminated. It just feels good and right.
If you could hop in a time machine where/when would you go?
I would absolutely and without question jump into the future, 3017 here I come!! Being fully immersed in the great artists of the past would be phenomenal but, at least I can study their work and read their history...I can't study what is yet to come. What will the great minds of our children create? What will art be? A whole new and exciting world.
What is your process like when starting a new painting? Do you plan out your work, or is it a more visceral process?
My process totally depends on the circumstances of course but, yes I suppose it is always visceral to some extent. I typically don't think about it like that...I gather information and get a sense of where I want the piece to go, a direction. I don't pre-sketch, draw or physically design anything. I gain inspiration and then I go for it. I dive in head first.
What are your future goals and ambitions as an artist?
My goal is to feel fulfilled and accomplished personally, but also to set a precedent and be an inspiration for my children and the upcoming generation. Do what compels you and makes you happy with vigor, purpose and drive. Don't back down!! Life is what you make of it, so make it good! I love my life and I want to share that.
What do you find to be the hardest part about being an abstract painter?
The hardest part is confidence. Don't we all have that aching doubt? Will other people see what I see? Will the work make them feel the way that it makes me feel?
Where do you find your inspiration for color?
I thrive on color aesthetically but it is always based off of an inspiration. A stunning landscape, writhing sea, the first blooms in spring...and also, a much less "cool" answer, I can equally be inspired by a paint chip. Sometimes a simple color block or color combo will be pleasing to my eye...it just happens naturally, falls into place and there it is...inspiration!