Lyn Hiner's Beauty From Ashes
By Donna Letterese
Artist Lyn Hiner has loved the creative process ever since childhood to this day. "I went to New York's Pratt Institute for a year, but I couldn't afford to stay," Hiner remembers. "My professional career as an artist has been going for the past four years. I taught art privately prior to that."
Up to that point she worked in a variety of professional capacities for several years in the publishing industry. She feels that this helped give her exposure to the real world, as well as invaluable time management skills that now help her on the business side of her art. She structures her schedule, setting aside different times for administrative and business items, as well as her studio practice.
Hiner was originally inspired by masters such as Georgia O'Keefe, Van Gogh and Reubens for their work's detail and color. However, as she became more familiar with Rothko and Klimpt, they became an inspiration because of their use of texture and layering, and their use of emotion. Hiner describes her own work as abstract expressionism. "I'm trying to emote a feeling based on what I see," she explains. "You can kind of tell what it is, but not per se what I see. Still, what matters is what you see. That's what makes it that genre."
Interestingly, before she made the shift to this genre, her work was very representational, veering towards the photorealistic. Even the work she did when she first came back into art as an adult was painting land and seascapes, as well as some architectural type pieces.
Yet, as she spent more time working on her craft and took a class here and there, it opened her up to other possibilities. "My work went from hyperrealism to a totally loose, liquid approach, then to working with palette knives and very little brush work," Hiner grins. "Right now, most of my work is acrylic with medium, so you can create and sculpt with it. I like to work with the paint in layers, which builds the character of each piece."
Hiner's greatest transformational experience thus far affected not only her art, but her entire worldview on life. Five years ago, she was down at the seashore rock hunting with her young children. She found some sea glass, and what she thought was a piece of amber. Terrifyingly, Hiner and her family found out later that that small piece was actually white phosphorous. "It didn't ignite right away, because it's dormant while wet," Hiner recalls. "However, when it dries, it basically becomes a white-hot flare.
At approximately 1,200 degrees, it's a spontaneously combustible material used for weaponry in the military." That same day when she got home from the beach, it was close to four in the afternoon. Hiner had (unknowingly) picked up the phosphorous three hours earlier. Suddenly, she felt a searing pain on her leg. Thinking it was a bug, she whacked her leg, only to have white flames start shooting out of her shorts.
Hiner's husband tried to help her as her shorts caught fire, and chaos ensued. Luckily, her children ran out of the house. Unfortunately, Hiner had difficulty getting her shorts off, and the phosphorous blended with the other rocks that were also in her pocket. The other rocks became additional incendiary devices and what once had been a solid piece of phosphorus, melted and became phosphoric acid, which burned her further, and caused other tiny fires in her kitchen.
While even the paramedics were stunned, luckily, Hiner was taken to the world-renowned Grossman Burn Unit at the Western Medical Center (California). She endured a ten day stay, two surgeries initially, and then four more minor surgeries later on.
Her story was featured on ABC's "Good Morning America." "It took two and a half months to get back in our house. The kids were growing up, and after going through this, we realized life is precious," Hiner muses. "It re-ignited my desire to paint. I prayed over it, and I felt like God totally said, 'I want you to paint - this is what I created you to do.'"
Presently, Hiner is displaying her "Beauty From Ashes" series at the Forest & Ocean Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA. This botanical based series features dark backgrounds, a lot of movement, and the conceptual idea that beauty is built upon layers.
The color comes up from behind the top layers and on top of that, there's a botanical that represents seasons of our lives that literally fade with time. This series focuses on the details and beauty in a flower leaf or plant, with tremendous attention to detail, our lives are marked with challenges and difficulties, but through that there is hope. That's what my message is. That's what I'm trying to say through my work.
The artist's reception will be on July 22nd. She also has a larger body of work being shown at Anne's Boutique Wines, a private venue in Costa Mesa, CA. That show is up from now through the first part of August. She is also in talks with a gallery that's in the process of opening its doors.
In terms of future projects, she is adding further pieces to her "Beauty From Ashes" series. Additionally, she is working on a new series focused on performance automobiles. One piece she is particularly proud of showcases her trademark dark background, with a silver Porsche on top of it. Lastly, she has been commissioned to paint a seven-foot-long seascape, about which she is very excited.
Overall, Hiner is grateful in life to have the chance to take the good with the bad. "Even in the darkest of times, even when things feel chaotic, there is hope, light, and there are good things that come," Hiner beams. "Sometimes you just have to look for them."
To learn more about Lyn Hiner and her work, please go to www.lynhiner.com.
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