Kristina “Kris” Cornwell is a local artist ten years in the making. Well, she has been local for ten years, but Cornwell has always known she was meant to be an artist. For Cornwell, her hobbies include hiking, gardening, and gaming. Her passion, however, is painting.
“(Art) wasn't ever a question for me because I used art as an outlet in my childhood. It wasn't until my early teens however that I discovered how much more art was to me than just an outlet.”
In 2009 Cornwell moved from Murphy, North Carolina to begin attending Ringgold High School and truly developing her artistic abilities. Cornwell says that she took every art class she possibly could throughout her four years at Ringgold and refined her styles and techniques in doing so.
“I couldn't stop doodling on papers... I caught myself drawing every chance I had. Then I started to try other forms of media, (and) I have found acrylic painting to be my favorite to work with and eventually stopped drawing all over my schoolbooks.”
Cornwell learned more than just medium preferences in art class, though. She says that one of her best lessons at Ringgold High was the value of patience in art, taught to her by her art instructor. Naturally competitive, Cornwell always sought to finish before her classmates as she was learning to paint. Taking her teacher’s advice though, Cornwell discovered that art was not something she wanted to rush through anymore. Instead, she found it more rewarding to spend time on a piece and appreciate the results. When rushing to finish, the product never portrayed her goal adequately. Cornwell saw that with practice she “understood painting was teaching me patience in places in my life where I needed it. (with patience) I have seen a 360-degree flip from myself as an artist 10 years ago to me as an artist now.”
Since her days in the high school art room, painting has transformed even further for Cornwell. Now Cornwell finds herself no longer seeking out tutorials or reference images and, rather, she, “worked harder at just painting—painting an image that I came up with in my head without any forced inspiration.” Cornwell has grown confidence in her skills as an artist that she once lacked and is now constantly “just painting.”
While she may be “just painting,” Cornwell’s process is dedicated. When beginning a project, Cornwell sets aside one or multiple entire days to work on it—if left unfinished it can take her months to return to the piece, so she prefers to work in one sitting. She utilizes the art room in her home to be free of distractions (noises, her cats) and plays her own calming music to relax and focus. The technique Cornwell utilizes is, “layered... I paint my landscape pieces in multiple layers which takes many hours to do because I let the painting completely dry in between adding layers of details and objects.” Upon the first step of completion, Cornwell will study the painting for a few days before going in to add (or redact) finishing touches, “That part of painting is annoying, but it is what works for me!”
Cornwell’s process assists her in producing work she is truly proud of. In particular, Cornwell considers her magnum opus to be the first painting she sold—an 8”x11” canvas landscape of the Walnut Street Bridge at dusk (not pictured). Cornwell continues to practice her passion and whilst doing so, she grows more skilled and confident in her work. Cornwell will have a booth Valley Vibes Art and Music Festival in LaFayette, Georgia Sept 23-25. You can also follow her personally on Instagram.