Painting by Heather Martindale

Idaho based artist, Heather Martindale, blends her love for old master paintings of drapery and mystery, with a contemporary exploration of emotions through figurative fabric imagery. Her work is inspired by observation of the world we live in and expressing the many emotions that we endure. A lot of what brings Heather’s pieces to life, is the light that is captured.  Whether it be refracted light in the shadow of each fold or the light shining through the sheerness of the fabric. This luminescence gives an enchanting quality to her work.

As humans, we force what cannot be controlled and resist what comes naturally.  Now, more than ever, a piece of cloth is a symbol.  Empowering and secure to some. To others, fabric means restriction and added weight.  

My work uses fabric to depict life around me. To evoke emotion and provoke inquiries.  Through observing current events, there are parallels and opposition to the natural elements.

Air is weightless, a necessity to live.  Unless it is shared with the stranger next to you.  Something so pure can become pollution and we suddenly feel the gravity.

Something so full of movement contrasts to the human way of being.  Water uses gravity and will find the path of least resistance to get where it’s going. Yet, humans will resist and create barriers over working around them.

The earth is grounding amongst the chaos.  When life seems to be falling apart, at least we have the weight of the earth to find strength in.

Fire is destructive, wiping out ecosystems.  In the same breath, we are mesmerized by the seductive flicker in the Summer campfire.  Watching opposing parties battle on social media, It is clear how addicted we are to someone else’s natural disaster.

Painting by Heather Martindale

When did you first begin creating art?  

I have created art and viewed life through a creative lens ever since I was a child. I can remember being given a bag of broken up candle wax all of various colors and sizes. It was a warm sunny day so I proceeded to organize the wax by color so that I knew what I was dealing with and then would stick them between the woven vinyl strips of our patio furniture to soften the wax pieces. I could then work the wax with my hands and mold it into figurines as if it was clay.

When did you first consider yourself to be an artist?  

I really identified as an artist while going through the BFA program and California State University, Chico. After graduating and finding a stable 9-5 job in the world of technology, I fell out of touch with that belief. I always knew art was part of my soul but when asked what I did for a living, I no longer responded with "I am an artist".  It wasn't until 2021 that I was able to commit to being a full-time professional artist and feel comfortable with the idea of making a career out of being an artist.

Who or what influences your practice?  

I am most influenced by the interactions and emotions of humanity when it comes to the ideas that I think about and the stories that I want to tell. These ideas usually manifest through imagery of lots of flowing fabric with some figurative elements. I am always inspired by the way light interacts with the sheen and translucency of different fabrics. The movement of the fabric allows the piece to speak for itself in telling a story or evoking an emotion from the viewer.

Painting by Heather Martindale

Tell us about a specific moment in your career that you would consider a turning point.  

My career as an artist has only just begun and it is so exciting to open each door of opportunity. I would say the turning point as an adult in the workforce was the realization that money can't buy happiness.  Growing with a startup company into a large corporation definitely came with its perks and monetary benefits! However, once I realized that the opportunity for my creativity was diminishing and just had to do the job the way it was designed, my buckets were not being filled anymore and no amount of money would have made it worth it. I have taken this very seriously into my art practice and career goals.  Of course, I want to make a living as an artist and make money, but it will not be at the cost of my passion and happiness of what I create. If I just make art that I know I can sell and make a lot of money, it is no different than what I was doing before.

Where would you like to see your artwork go in the future?  

As I grow as an artist in my practice as well as work to grow collectors and followers, my hope is that my work will leave more and more viewers touched, moved, and inspired. I would also like to create opportunities for at-risk youth to have a voice through their own art and foster a mentorship that allows them to thrive despite their life circumstances.

Painting by Heather Martindale
Painting by Heather Martindale