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Getting to Know the Off Center Gallery Artists: Randi Ford

Getting to Know the Off Center Gallery Artists: Randi Ford

Categories: Off Center Art Gallery

Meet Randi Ford

A full-time artist working in Grand Rapids, Randi focuses mostly on painting and illustration, devoting her time to working on her stationary line, showing her work at art festivals, and preparing for ArtPrize. Randi grew up in the country (Sturgis) falling in love with nature, which inspires much of her work featuring beautiful scenes from our natural environment. She studied Illustration at Grand Valley State University, where she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts in winter of 2012.

A true Michigan artist Randi draws her inspiration entirely from nature. When asked what it is about nature that drives her work, she explains, “capturing the beauty of nature, how complex and diverse our natural environment is, allows me to emphasize the design qualities through my work. There are all these natural design elements in nature, so I slightly abstract them and bring the painting to life.”

Just how does nature involve itself in her paintings? She literally immerses herself, whether in the woods, at the beach, or a state park, practicing a method called ‘plein air.’ Sometimes it’s a simple day trip; other times she stays a few nights, whether at a nearby friend’s house or at a cabin with her family. “Sometimes I will drive to a place for a day, spend 1-2 hours hiking until I have found the right spot, and then paint on scene for around 6 hours,” she explains.
When she doesn’t have the pleasure of spending her time in nature, she paints from a studio in her home. She will paint from reference photographs she has taken, and prefers to paint alone while listening to music. From her point of view, it is easier to focus and really involve herself in her painting when she is alone, especially since she tries to paint for an entire day.

Randi’s Process

Why is this? As a full-time artist, she must spend time dealing with the business side of her craft as well as the creative side. She elaborates, “I don’t paint every day; many days the business side (accounting, preparing prints, updating the website and Etsy shops, social media, etc.) takes up a majority of my time. I might spend a week painting, then jump to something else… planning a project, completing it, and moving on to the next task.” It’s no wonder when asked what her dream super power would be, she replies, “To be able to move as fast as Clark Kent. That way I could get more done throughout the day!”
Randi will soon be sharing her talent with the community at “Paint Nite.” On slower weeknights at local bars, she will teach people how to paint a selected picture. She also hopes to expand her work into more local stores and galleries. In the meantime, you can check out her show for ArtPrize, Painting Michigan, at First Park Congregational Church from September 24 through October 12. Here she will be showing her plein-air pieces, including work from Pictured Rocks, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Hoffmaster State Park, Grand Haven, Sturgis, Saugatuck, and of course, Grand Rapids.

Paint Nite at Local Bars

Don’t forget to check out her website, or shop around her Etsy account.

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