Vicki Liu is a Fine Artist/Illustrator from Madison Wisconsin. Her primary focus is pet portraits, and works in a wide variety of mediums, including textiles and ceramics. With the use of mixed media, and a penchant for gold leafing with embroidery on paper, exploring new ways to keep her work fresh and visually dynamic is what keeps her inspired and motivated to grow in her work.
Vicki participated in elective art classes in high school, went onto MIAD for a year, with a focus on illustration, and ended up transferring to UW-Oshkosh to attain her BFA in Painting & Drawing. While in college, Vicki was honored to receive one of two collaborative research grants given to art students each year.
Photographer: Beth Skogen
What’s your preferred medium to paint and why?
That's a tricky one. I love watercolor and oil painting equally for their unique attributes. For watercolor, I'm able to play around with various brush strokes to capture texture and fur in a fresh, loose and thoughtful way. The washes you can get with watercolors are so unique to the medium (especially granularity) and that makes painting really fun. For oils, I absolutely love the richness of the medium. The ritual of laying down the underpainting, most of all the workability. Oils are such a forgiving medium, which is why it's good to also work with the opposite (watercolor). Switching between the two keeps me grounded!
What’s your favorite and least favorite thing to paint?
My favorite thing to paint is animals, without a doubt. My least favorite thing to paint is teeth. No matter how many times I try to make teeth look like teeth, I get so lost in overthinking my approach. I want to suggest teeth but my pension for over detailing gets me everytime. It's definitely an area to work on.
When are you the most creative? Morning? Night?
Night, 100%. The house is quiet and a cozy ambiance in my studio at that time in the day really inspires me to create.
What do you listen to when you are painting/creating artwork?
I wish I could say I was one of those people who could listen to a podcast or audiobook while working, but I can't. I get so lost in my work, almost in a meditative way that I end up losing track of whats being said and the whole point is mute. I listen to a lot of classical, ethereal type music. Phillip Glass, Ólafur Arnalds, Agnes Obel and Conor Walsh are usually on repeat in my studio.
Where do you like to paint (outside of a studio)?
I love painting anywhere near a body of water. Where I live there are several lakes and parks that allow you solitude. Hearing the movement of water is so melodic. It really evokes the same sense of calm and inspiration that classical music does in the studio.
When you receive unsolicited critiques or comments, how do you feel/how do you react?
It's just part of life today. With the internet, it's so easy to hide behind a screen and say what you want without thought or accountability for the words being said. I approach any unsolicited comments with respect to the individual invoking them, redirecting the conversation in a thoughtful manner. I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to my work and feel that putting your work out there is just going to bring with it comments and critiques whether or not you ask for it. Sometimes its a great opportunity to engage in an educational moment as well, which can be fun.
Vicki's Favorite Trekell Products:
I've been using Trekell products for around 6 or 7 years, and have honestly loved just about everything I've worked with. I'd have to say my go to brushes are the Legion series brushes along with the Red Sable line. I've had some of my brushes for years and they just hold up so beautifully. I also REALLY love the Trekell Linseed Oil Soap for Oil Paint. I've yet to find a better product to clean my oil brushes.
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