Who are you and what do you do?
My artist name is FlukeLady and I’m a 31-year-old creative from Philadelphia, PA. For the last three years, I’ve been obsessed with painting whimsically spooky ghost art. Each year I spend all 31 days of October creating an entirely new piece of artwork – every single day! It’s one of my biggest but most looked forward to projects.
Why do you do what you do?
There is such a deep-seated need for me to put paint on paper and create something from nothing that I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t make art. My spooky inclinations have always been a part of me and my work but I’ve really honed in on that aspect with my ‘Ghosts’ series these past three years. I like the idea of painting a sort of sweetly haunted representation of the afterlife, it is comforting to me and hopefully to others in some way.
You use so many vibrant colors, do you have any that you favor?
Color is so satisfying to play with, there is something exhilarating for me about looking at a blank page and fresh paint palette and all of its possibilities for color and placement.
I do find myself gravitating towards blues & greens in watercolor especially. I have a hard time using paint right out of the pan or tube, I can’t help but mix another color right in with it, though I do find myself reaching for Paynes Gray for the shadowing of my sheet ghosts.
What inspires your art?
Music actually heavily inspires my work. I keep a notepad filled with all of my future ghost painting ideas and it is surprising how many of them pop into my head through just a song lyric.
Other times I find inspiration in real life looking at abandoned houses, cemeteries, and spooky forests – wondering what kind of life a ghost might lead inside of them.
How and when did you get into art?
I was always that kid who would rather be making art than doing anything else, always had a creative pursuit I was getting lost in. I had a rough childhood and when I had to move in with a new family they asked if there was any one thing they could get me to make me more comfortable – I asked for a sketchbook and some pencils.
I really found my undying passion for it in high school, though. In 2007, I had a wonderful Graphic Design teacher who gave me the resources and encouragement to make whatever weird art I set my mind to – in turn that gave me a voice through art that I have been chasing ever since.
Actually sharing my work with the world started only five years ago for me, though.
How has your practice changed over time?
When I first started sharing my work online it was purely in hopes of finding artistic connections with like-minded folks and finding personal joy in learning new things. I treated my art as a beloved hobby and spent years doing paint studies and teaching myself new techniques. There were a couple of years there where I only painted hands. I get a little obsessed with my art projects haha.
Slowly but surely I found the niche of the subject I was most excited and passionate about – ghosts! I’ve been dedicated to them ever since.
My practice has evolved these days into an everyday creative adventure. I am always thinking of the next painting, project, product etc. I am always wanting to learn something new to help move me and my work forward and I still love teaching myself new ways to make art.
What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve created? Why?
Y’all have to know how hard of a question this is, haha! All of my paintings are like my little babies but my piece titled “Haunting Perspective” is one of the first of my ghost series, it gave me the desire and push to keep thinking of strange and unique concepts to put on paper. I partially credit it to getting my spooky journey started.
What’s one art tip/technique you can share with us that you find really helpful?
My favorite trick to create grass, skies, and water: I like using a continuous spray bottle to quickly get a large area of paper evenly wet. Then, for instance, to paint a body of water I’ll use a large soft paintbrush to drop in different layers of blue and dab those colors with a natural sea sponge to blend the colors together and create a beautiful texture. It works like a charm.
Do you have any secret tips or techniques you use to salvage a piece when you make a mistake?
As a mostly watercolor-focused artist, I find that I’m quite lucky in this aspect – occasionally I go outside a line I didn’t intend to or an accidental paint brush drop happens but – if caught quickly enough and even if it’s a super-saturated color – a good watercolor paper will allow me to use clean water and a thick paintbrush and a paper towel to kind of simultaneously scrub-wash it right away until it disappears. It makes it a lot easier not to stress about small details when I know I can easily fix them later.
What is your favorite Strathmore paper? Why?
I have been using the Strathmore 400 series watercolor pads since I first started using watercolor! It is my favorite, I love how sturdy it is and the texture is perfect for my work.
Another great Strathmore paper is the ready-cut 5×7″ 500 series watercolor paper, so convenient for me to use and the sturdiness of this paper is undeniably a watercolor artist’s dream.
What art materials could you not live without?
Watercolor paints and watercolor-specific paper are probably the two obvious materials. On top of those I always need a tiny, tiny paint brush for small details as well as natural sea sponges to help me create a huge variety of texture effects in my art – I use them for water, tree bark, and clouds in the sky. Definitely always in my toolkit.
What types of colors are you drawn to for your art and why?
I enjoy having every and any color at my disposal and often have to tell myself to maybe pull it back a bit when choosing my colors for certain pieces – sometimes I just want to use them all!
That said, my printer ink status tells me I probably use too much green haha.
Who are your biggest influences (or who were when you started doing art)?
I really enjoy the different art communities on Instagram and the inspiration they gave me when I first became active, I’m still continuously inspired. Being able to take in art from so many walks of life just because they decided to share it online is a beautiful thing and it has made me the artist I am today.
What’s the most common art-related question you get from your followers?
Almost always about my materials used. When I first started, I remember asking other artists I looked up to the same thing because when you’re teaching yourself, you don’t have much experience in what supplies will work best. I’ll always be grateful for the folks who helped me figure out the tools of the trade so I always make time to give those tips to the followers who ask me, in turn.
Website/social media links:
You can find me at www.flukelady.com