Krista Wells is a visual artist and musician working on the Fundy Shore in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. She is co-founder of the vibrant Art Lab Studios and Gallery and currently one of the five artists – including herself, Michael Fuller, Jill Langford, Krista Levy Odlin, and Isidora Spielmann – who have joined forces to contribute to the creative fabric of this community by the sea.
Krista had a previous career in theatre, film and television, primarily in sound as a foley artist. During that time she maintained a studio making jewellery, but when she had to give up her work in sound due to a hearing disorder, her art practice eventually evolved into other mediums, including painting, illustrating, printmaking, sculpting, photographing, and mosaics.
On her website, http://www.kristawells.ca/, Krista welcomes commission work in animal portraiture. To lead the way, she encourages prospective clients to become familiar with her art work in acrylics, oil, ink and digital prints. If they like what they see, they can contact her to start a discussion of what they are looking for.
On occasion, Krista will use reference photos she has taken herself, but most often she relies on pictures supplied by the pet owner. She asks clients for high resolution photographs and an indication of what colours they like or dislike. She suggests choosing between 12″x16″ and 16″x16″ sizes. Krista also consults with clients regarding the composition of the piece, of how she would like to crop the image so that there are no unexpected surprises. She tries hard to capture the personality of the animal, with the expression in their eyes being a key factor.
Creating images of beloved pets for their owners comes with a lot of emotional baggage. Krista, a long time dog-lover herself, is empathetic to the feelings of both human and animal which shines through in the finished portrait. For materials, Krista has moved from acrylics to oils on cradled birch boards. Whether paint, ink or drawing digitally on her computer, she always starts with a very detailed drawing.
Her influences include:
Austrian painter, Egon Schiele, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egon_Schiele
French artist, Bernard Buffet, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Buffet
American photographer, William Wegman, https://williamwegman.com/
One of Krista’s projects in the last few years has been March of Dogs. “In March of 2018 and 2019 I challenged myself to illustrate 31 dogs in 31 days. In 2018 I had stumbled upon a Twitter account called We Rate Dogs (@dog_rates), run by Matt Nelson. I decided to use the dogs he posted during the month of March as the starting point for my self-imposed challenge, hence the title March of Dogs.
In the future? March of Dogs has paved the way to the idea of creating books that she both writes and illustrates. And Krista is not stopping there. She has recently become interested in wool felting, experimenting with the creation of three-dimensional sculptures of her canine friends. As I write this, I am imagining a world of possibilities. Perhaps Krista’s past film experience will fuel the way. Stop motion animation here she comes!