About the Artist
KIRSTEN T. O. SHEFFIELD is a Vancouver-born artist who subtly manipulates wax and dye to marry realism and the fluid nature of water within her painted batiks. Her curious technique intrigues and draws patrons to her varied subject matter which includes Westcoast landscapes, internationally inspired cultural and architectural themes, as well as local botanical images. Her unique, resist-based technique produces organic paintings particularly suited to the interplay of light and shadow, smooth gradations of colour and reflections on water. Her richly-hued paintings are heavily influenced by extensive travel and shaped by her background as an oil painter and photographer.
Receiving a BA in Art History from the University of Victoria in the 90's, Kirsten spent the next two decades in a circuitous commercial art-career ranging from technical drawing for scientific and medical journals to illustrating for Harper Collins, the Canadian Military History Journal and Paradigm Motion Pictures. In 2010, Kirsten became a full-time professional artist with the establishment of a successful mural business, called Walls That Talk. She now focuses solely on painted batik - a technique introduced to her by Ontario batik artist and friend, Linda Risacher Copp.
Kirsten uses a non-conventional batik method as she "paints" on the dye. She does this on cotton which allows for somewhat more control compared to more commonly painted silk. The usual process where wax is heated and applied to fabric in stages, intermittent with dyes, remains the same. The truly artistic aspect of her work involves control of the dye when it touches the fabric, spreading in varying degrees dependent on how wet she allows the fabric to become. The wax, as usual, creates a boundary where the dye cannot enter. When a piece is finished, the wax is removed and the image emerges.
Kirsten's work can be found across Canada, in the United States, New Zealand and Britain, she is represented by the Abbotsford Art Gallery and exhibits in the lower mainland as well as on Vancouver Island. Kirsten currently lives in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada.
After years of expressing other people's ideas through murals, I was eager to create artwork that was uniquely my own - this culminated in painting batiks. Manipulation and fusion of wax, water and dye on fabric pushes me outside my comfort zone of crisp reality, restraining the complete control that I'm so accustomed to. Having worked with the medium for over 6 years, I still feel like I'm dancing with the devil as my dye-laden brush lingers above the wet cotton. Unlike any other medium I've worked with, painting a batik requires continuous forethought and focus throughout the creation - my mind can't wander. The fluid technique of batik allows me to create uniquely organic paintings particularly suited to the interplay of light and shadow, smooth gradations of colour and reflections on water. Batik has become an endless creative challenge for me and I love to test myself to see how far I can take it.