Heather Kirtland received a BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Heather currently teaches encaustic workshops and is focused on her own studio practice.
She was awarded The Maryland State Arts Council Grant and was a resident artist at The Holt Center. Most recently she works with West Elm as one of their Local Artist. Her work has been exhibited throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, abroad in Italy and Wales, and has appeared in Modern Rustic magazine and Country Living UK.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation and Montessori school have commissioned her work, as well as many private collectors. Heather recently moved from Baltimore to a more rural part of Maryland where she lives with her husband and two children and their dog.
When she is not painting she loves to read, run and encourage other mothers to find a creative outlet through a project she co-founded with Marissa Huber; Carve Out Time for Art. Marissa and Heather have most recently presented at Alt Summit as well as published a book, The Motherhood of Art.
In my work I utilize the house form to represent a persona. My recent series of paintings explore the deconstruction of my usual house form. Through gestural mark making, dynamic composition, and a vibrant palette I intend to connect the viewer to the situations I am creating. I want to play with tension, ease, movement, and layered emotion. While the house can represent safety, solidarity and security this past year has complicated all of these identities. This work addresses the complex and dynamic feelings wrapped around the sense of home.
"I have always been a practicing artist, but motherhood truly threw me for a loop. I lost my sense of identity and could hear my college professors in my head saying that I had to choose between being a “serious” artist or mother. What the hell did “serious” even mean? I struggled to find examples of artists that were also mothers and was disheartened when an internet search resulting in stories of famous male artists mothers. Once I came out of what was in hindsight a postpartum depression, I returned to the studio and have been my most prolific since.
Motherhood has influenced my practice greatly. It’s made me more energized, focused and thoughtful in my work. I’ve become more confident and less self conscious. The whole experience has driven me to help foster a community with my internet friend and partner @carveouttimeforart where we foster connections and support creatives to find time in their life for their pursuits. I’ve put into the world the information I craved as a new mother and co-authored a book with Marissa Huber, The Motherhood of Art.
Currently I am turning inward. Perhaps it is forced by the Pandemic and our new situations, maybe it is just time. I am returning to a studio practice consistently and putting more of my work into the world. My goals for this coming year are to apply to more shows, share my work in a broader range and begin to curate a bit more. I have found a lot of joy in helping other artist reach their goals and get out of their own way. While I hope to continue that in tandem with pushing my practice farther.
I am also hoping to work on a few murals. I am hopeful for what 2021 may bring."