Women Walking Strong: A snapshot interview with local artist Linda Klippenstein

Here we explore how she uses textured pieces of paper to create incredible works of art.

What is your inspiration for your series 'Walking Strong'? What are you hoping people take away from it?

My inspiration for that particular series came from women who I've met at the Warm Zone, a drop in centre for women who are street involved. Women at this centre live the most difficult of lives, are socially isolated, most are active in addiction as well as in survival sex work. I've been a volunteer at the Warm Zone for seven years, and I've been hugely impacted by women there.  They are survivors, strong and resilient.

I've created and sold artworks for private commissions with this theme, and I've also facilitated larger group projects with this same "Women Walking Strong" theme.  Currently I'm planning a large community project, taking canvases to a variety of locations to include women who otherwise wouldn't participate - women who are incarcerated, elderly women who are isolated, students. These canvases will open March 8 on International Women's Day and will be on display at TheReach art gallery till the end of March.     
I hope that people who help create the series, or who have purchased one of my pieces from that series, will understand that we are much stronger when we walk together, when we "see" each other.


How do you choose your papers?

 I love papers with fine, delicate designs because I cut or tear them into half inch pieces. I also use papers which take paints well. I usually highlight or shade my completed designs with paints, and papers that have a too glossy finish don't take paint well.


How long have you been making art? 

16 years.

Do you have any advice for people who want to try their hand at paper art?

Just start! If you don't like your initial design you can always cover it with different papers. Also, use a good quality adhesive- I use professional mediums such as Golden or Liquitex because they don't yellow over time.


The process:

Papers add a rich texture to your art and give it dimension.

First I buy papers. Sometimes, if I'm facilitating a project for a non-profit, and budget is an issue,  I'll paint some of my own papers and use a combination of painted and bought papers.  Papers are cut into small pieces.


I draw my designs, in this case, the design is of a group of women walking, surrounded by trees, with mountains in the background. The drawing is divided in to small sections, Mosaic like, and I choose which papers I want to put in the different sections and collage (glue) them to the canvas. Once they're glued down I'll add subtle high lights and shadows with acrylic paints, and then I'll varnish.


Linda Klippenstein is a local artist based in Abbotsford. You can follow Linda on instagram @lklip and visit her website at linda.klippenstein.ca.

Blog by Christine Wiebe