The leaves crunch under my tires, as I parallel park in front of a series of beautiful row homes in Richmond, VA, steps from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, one of the most artistically inspirational spots in the city. When I gently swing open the creaky, white patina gate, Courtney Sievers greets me with a quiet confidence, joking that the squeaky entry acts as the security alarm. Even though we are meeting for the first time, we discover that our paths have crossed before through previous volunteer experiences within the art community (it’s a funny, small world).
As we walk upstairs to her home studio, Courtney reminisces that a seemingly simple compliment from a first-year college art teacher fueled her creative spark – leading her to major in art and follow a career path to graphic design. Throughout her life, Courtney has always found time to be creative, even if only for a mere ten minutes in a given day. Painting, becoming a practice and a pull that she cannot calm until the colors hit the canvas.
Courtney's art on display in Ruth & Ollie, Richmond, VA
Courtney’s artistic foundation is en plein air, home, and animal portraits. She has an ability to see every detail of a cityscape and recreate it with precision while incorporating her unique style and perspective. Courtney's talent is evident in the detail of these works which has happily sustained her career for years.
Courtney has accepted life’s ups and downs with grace, recognizing that where she is – is the right place to be. The twists and turns revealing truths and through acknowledgment have slightly changed the path, leading to the birth of a new creative voice. An expression that Courtney did not know was buried deep inside of her. Stepping outside her comfort zone, Courtney has leaned into a yearning to color outside the lines and discovered the joy of painting abstracts.
The free-flowing movement of the palette knife across the canvas is a stark contrast to the detail of her en plein air work but equally as interesting. Through this new approach, Courtney is learning to let go of expectation and the result is stunning.
Adding color with broad movements stems from something deep within – something that Courtney needs to get out of her head, heart, and soul. Courtney’s abstract work is colorful and vibrant while equally calm and soothing. You can feel all of life’s moments in her abstract paintings. You can see the rapid movement of paint coupled with minute detail and the love poured into her work.
She is inspired by the color and design she observes when working part-time at Ruth & Ollie, a local interior design store. In fact, the owners of Ruth & Ollie were one of the first to recognize Courtney’s evolving voice and proudly sell her work at the store. Courtney is eternally grateful for this “partnership” and incredibly humble and joyful that her work is being received by the world.
When you talk with Courtney you cannot escape her soft smile and kind heart. Fueled by the support and love of her husband and son, Courtney is truly giddy that she gets to do this for a living.
Take a moment to more about the talented artist, Courtney Sievers.
How did your art journey begin?
Growing up, art class what always my favorite. I remember feeling particularly happy when I’d walk in the room and see the paints and brushes spread out on the tables. Later when I went to college at Mary Baldwin, it was required we take an art class our freshman year. I signed up for Basic Painting. Our first assignment was to paint a still life in monochromatic colors. My teacher came up to me while I was working on my painting and told me he could see real talent in my work and asked if I’d consider majoring in art. And as they say, the rest is history…
How has your work evolved over the past couple of years?
Since my son started school, I have been able to do my favorite, paint outside, en plein air, a lot. It has improved my technique and color theory knowledge. Also, after painting realism (architecture and pet portraits) for so many years, I took a big leap and entered the abstract art world. I set my paint brushes aside and started using palette knives.
As an artist, what are you most proud of?
Since I’ve been painting for almost 25 years, there are a few points in my career that I’m proud of...
When I started painting plein air I would hide in corners trying to not be noticed so my paintings wouldn’t be judged. I began painting more often and joined the Virginia Plein Air Painters. I gained confidence and decided to participate in the Richmond Plein Air Festival Fast and Fresh competition. It was the most exhilarating day and a very proud moment for me. To have a stranger purchase my art, tell me how much they love it and send pictures of where they have it in their home means the most.
Every painting I create is like a child to me and I’m so proud of all the wonderful homes they are finding. I have also been a member of a local artist group, Wednesday Night Paint Group, for 12 years. To be a part of such an amazing, supportive and, despite our name, creative group of artists like them is very special.
What inspires you?
Everything inspires me! I can’t go anywhere and not see something beautiful that would be pretty to paint. Sunlight hitting objects, landscapes ideas, and color combinations are just a few things. And, when I get something in my head to paint, I
can not settle down until it finds its way to a canvas!
Have you ever felt like giving up and choosing a different career path?
It has never occurred to me to not paint. Even the days when I’m not in the “zone” with
something, I still feel so happy to be able to have the space, time and opportunity.
Where are you headed? Where do you want your career to be in two years?
It would be a dream to have a show in a gallery, participate in plein air festivals, and continue painting abstracts. I’d also love to be on speed dial for interior designers who need the perfect painting for their clients.
What do you like to do when you are not painting?
In my free time I enjoy being with family and friends, decorating my home and gardening. I love traveling, spending time outside and I especially love the beach!