I am Danielle Harshenin - a bona fide Okanagan girl, born and raised in this beautiful valley that I'm proud to still call home. I am a mother of two, an entrepreneur, a devoted daughter and sister, coffee-addict, and a self-taught contemporary abstract artist!
Although I have always had a great appreciation for art, it wasn't until 2006 that I began exploring the realm that is painting. I was expecting my first child and was in search of a hobby that would keep me at home behaving for nine months. After a lively trip to my local Opus, I was hooked.
I learn something new with every canvas that I undertake. My current work is the culmination of a decade-long exploration journey through canvas, and is the expression of my present, but ever-evolving painting style.
In early 2015, I founded Art for Humanity - an Okanagan-based event coordination company focused on fusing local artistic talent with charitable causes. When I am not unleashing creative madness in my home studio, I keep busy by planning Art for Humanity events that are geared towards supporting my fellow local artists and giving back to my community. To learn more, or to get involved, you can visit www.artforhumanity.ca.
One of the most common questions that I am asked is, "where do you get your inspiration from?" I dread this question. My sources of inspiration are not easy for me to articulate. A lot of the time, there is no conscious connection between what has inspired me, and what ends up on my finished canvas.
Art is an emotional outlet for me. I paint because it allows me to express what I'm feeling, or escape what I'm thinking. When I go into my painting world, thoughts are not used in the same way they are during the rest of my existence. I enter a blissful creative world where nothing has to "make sense". Occasionally, I have very vivid ideas come to me that I know I need to paint. I will follow these ideas from mind to canvas, and the finished products will mirror exactly what I imagined they would be. However, much more frequently, I just need to paint!! There is no direction, only the familiar motions - beginning with color choice. It's a coin toss if the canvas will end up being something visually pleasing or not.
Before I fell in love with painting, I was in love with Interior Design. I would religiously watch programs on HGTV (Debbie Travis was my favorite!)... A statement that stuck with me over the years is "it isn't clutter if it matches". I can relate this silly quote to my art work in the sense that my paintings are mostly about colors, layers and textures that work together as a team. I frequently draw my color selections from interior design trends. My work has very little to do with actual "subject matter".
I thrive on diversity and change. I also go through extreme phases of being highly motivated to work - where I will paint 24/7 non-stop and transform into a weird creature that lives a hermit existence in my painting studio, and is concerned with nothing beyond what I am working on in that moment. And then, thankfully, I do take breaks to come back and live in reality.
Painting isn't just something that I love to do, it is something that I feel compelled to do. I don't feel like I chose to be an Artist, I feel that art chose me. I want to pass the raw, genuine LOVE that I feel while I am painting onto the world through every canvas I put out. It's my way of making the world just a little bit better.
Some facts... for those of you who would rather read random facts about me, that have nothing to do with my career as an artist, rather than my boring bio :-)
- I am the proud mother of 2 amazing kids! They are the loves of my life!!!
- My favorite color is purple.
- I am a Sagittarius.
- My name means "God is my judge".
- I recycle.
- I don't like talking about my art, but I love making it!!
- I believe in aliens.
- I swear way too much.
- I usually listen to rap music when I paint.
- I have strong family values, and am blessed that my immediate family is comprised of amazingly awesome people who double as my best friends.
- I consciously practice an 'Attitude of Gratitude'
- Going to hair salons freaks me out more than dentist offices.
- Staying in on a Friday night to binge-watch Dr. Phil is my idea of a great time. #MomLife
- I support gay marriage.
- I am pro-choice.
- I support the legalization of marijuana.
- I am a dog person.
- I don't cry very often and have been accused of lacking sensitivity.
- I believe everything happens for a reason.
- If you speed through school zones, I have a huge problem with you. Slow the f#@k down.
- If you drink and drive, or text while driving, I have an even bigger problem with you.
- I am crazy disorganized and my house is alllllllways a mess.
- There was a time in my life that I sold extravagant toilets to make a living. No lie.
- My favorite place on earth (besides BC) is Hawaii!
- I'm a freak about spelling and grammar.
- I believe in a collective consciousness, and that we are all responsible for what we contribute to it.