“I’ve always been fond of fairies, but I must say that I did not consciously choose to paint fairies for a living,” she explains. “They seemed to somehow flutter into my life in a time of need, offering much healing and a fantastic channel for creative expression.”
Baumhardt’s creations begin with a pencil sketch of an outdoor scene, usually sketched from a photograph that she’s taken in woods or gardens near her home southeast of Petoskey.
Then she slowly begins the watercolor paintings, working on one creation at a time is her usual pattern. Once the scene is set, she adds a fairy presence. Some are smiling waifs; others shyly peek from behind mushrooms. All are delicately detailed and convey a sense of both the natural and supernatural.
HOW I GOT STARTED
Creativity has been an essential element of my existence for as long as I can remember – I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands and making things. As a child, however, drawing was never something that came easy and natural for me, and I can remember wishing – with much frustration – for the ability to draw.
Taking art classes at North Central Michigan College was a great experience, and one course in particular, a drawing and painting course, was especially helpful in the process of ‘learning to see’. Mostly though, I’d say that I’m a self-taught artist, and it wasn’t until fairly recently that I really began to focus my efforts on working professionally as an artist.
THE STORY BEHIND MY ART, MY INSPIRATION
Along with fairies, my greatest inspiration is nature. I love gardening and exploring Michigan’s north woods, from flowers, mushrooms, insects and animals to mosses and lichen, etc.
I am deeply moved by the beauty of this land. Inspiration often comes to me at the oddest times, when least expected, and it is lovely to grab hold of that moment and make something with it.
WORK I’M MOST PROUD OF
Something I really enjoy as a painter is experiencing the full circle of an inspiration and its finished piece of work. Sometimes the experience is difficult, when an idea is hard to express, but when it all flows it is very satisfying, and those tend to be the pieces that I enjoy most.
One piece in particular, titled “Gathering Rose Hips,” is one of those pieces. I was actually working on a different piece of artwork when the inspiration for this piece called me. Something just kept whispering, “Rose hips… rose hips,” so I stopped the piece I was working on and started a piece with rose hips.
I enjoy this piece and the process was meaningful and felt good. It also turns out that my grandmother (age 97) passed away while working on this piece. She grew roses and loved them and was also a painter. So it is significant in that way as well.
YOU WON’T BELIEVE
I’m an avid cottage gardener, planting both veggies and flowers in our home. Some of my favorite flowers include lupines, poppies, lavender, foxglove and roses…oh, I love roses.
MY FAVORITE ARTIST
Two artists I admire greatly are Tasha Tudor and Beatrix Potter. I enjoy their art, in paint and story, but I believe it is mostly a combination of the work they did and the way in which they lived their lives that inspires me greatest.
The work of contemporary artist Alan Lee really moves me, and I am also fond of many artists and works of art belonging to the era of Victorian fairy painting.
ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ARTISTS
I think it is most important to be yourself and to do your best in anything one chooses to do in life. Being an artist is really a way of life and I think one must find contentment in doing the work, as much as in receiving anything that may come as a result of one’s work.
Patience, persistence and hard-work are important, as well as compassion, especially toward one’s self. It can be easy to get discouraged as artists, as we often look to the outside for feedback and approval, but I believe it is important to believe in yourself, stay true to who you are and to create what has the most meaning for you.
MY WORK CAN BE SEEN/PURCHASED
At The Northern Michigan Artists Market in Petoskey or via my website: snowfairyfarm.com.