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Living Art Feature: Eric Sweet

We’re excited the announce the launch of Eric Sweet’s debut collection for Whistlefish: The Spirit of Wildlife. We caught up with Eric to discover more about his passion for the natural world and his favourite masters of art. 

We’re excited the announce the launch of Eric Sweet’s debut collection for Whistlefish: The Spirit of Wildlife. We caught up with Eric to discover more about his passion for the natural world and his favourite masters of art. 

 

Hi Eric, thank you for taking the time to chat to us. Tell us about the story behind your pieces…

My technique has evolved quite a bit through the years but is now in a place that I’m very satisfied with. My goal has always been to connect with the animal spirit I’m painting and, in turn, hope to have the viewer connect in that same way. To achieve this, I paint in such a way that creates a mystical appearance. Sometimes, this goes in a direction that doesn’t necessarily resemble the animal in “perfect” reflection, but rather, takes into consideration my feeling in the moment and the aura I feel from its spirit.

 

Your collection for Whistlefish is painted in watercolour. Why do you love painting in this medium and what’s your creative process?

I absolutely have a love-hate relationship with watercolour! Most days, I love it, but others, I can’t get far enough away. In the end, I know I have to have those days to keep growing. I do love its unique qualities, though. Layered washes are an important part of my process and can’t be duplicated with other mediums. Much of my process involves composition. I’ve always had the belief that composition is more important than technique. For that reason, I spend much of my creative time in the pre-painting stages. Once I have something that I think will work, I’ll begin to paint. I’m always pleased when the drawing translates to a painting because many times it will not.

How has your work evolved over time? 

I’ve only been painting animals with watercolours for about 3-4 years. Before that, I painted landscapes and portraits in oil. Those became very mundane and repetitive, and had little meaning for me. For that reason, I switched subjects to something I always held close to my heart but never thought to use that connection in an artistic manner. I’m so happy I did!

 

Animals feature as a main subject in your pieces. How are you drawn to the natural world? 

I’ve always been drawn to nature and animals. I find peace within them both and a deep connection to something much larger than I can explain. Animals for me are a safe haven, gentle spirits that are in tune to the spiritual frequency we all yearn for.

Which artists have inspired you, and continue to excite you? 

My favourite master of all time is easily Monet. I’ve always been drawn to impressionism and love his use of light and colour. Currently, there isn’t any one artist who inspires me. I get excited about any art the moves me in some way. I spend a lot of time researching other artists, mostly artists who use different mediums, just to admire their craft. I’ve always liked sculpture, especially figurative sculpture, so if I find a good sculpture, I’m hooked for a while!

        

When you’re not painting, how do you like to spend your days?

Not surprisingly, I spend a lot of time with my own animals, who I love so much. My favourite hobby, however, is golf. It’s one of those things that allows me to be outside in nature and play a game I love, so it’s a win win. I also really enjoy woodworking and generally have some kind of build going on. Lastly, I spend a lot of time with my wife, Kristin, who is my biggest supporter and toughest critic. I’m so thankful for her!