McKenzie Birnie, La Verne Member Since November 2010 Artist Statement Born in Los Angeles, my grandfather, Johan Birnie, was from the old school of Dutch painters. He immigrated to the United States and set up a studio in his house and worked there daily.
As a small child, I spent hour after hour on a stool in the corner of my grandfather's studio watching him go through the various stages of drawing and planning a composition, preparing a color palette, skillfully employing his craftsmanship with requisite patience and endurance, and fastidiously caring for his brushes and equipment - in short, preparing a reverent welcome for the magic of his art. Before my mesmerized eyes, blank canvases and inert tubes of paint were transformed into vibrant stories of form and color.
Inspired by my grandfather, I went on to apply his lessons to my own media and activities in life.
Another childhood experience that had a profound impact on my artistic formation was a move to a remote ranch in northern Nevada. Under the wide Nevada sky, I discovered the elements of time and space while making a strong connection with the natural world. These elements shaped my life through school and the raising of my three children, and continue to be reflected in my art today.
I received a Master's degree in Fine Arts before launching into a full-time career in art. Using weaving and mixed media, I created wearable art for Obiko and other galleries in San Francisco and Northern California. A highlight of my art career was when I exhibited my "Story Shirts" in the Salon des Ateliers d'Art in Paris, which featured artists from around the world.
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