For many artists, having their work shown in a gallery is all but a dream. There are, however, plenty in this community who have been able to do so, thanks to the work and facilities provided by the Santa Clarita Artists Association.
Artist Samantha Martindale had her dream come true on Friday, having her first showing at the SCAA’s gallery in Old Town Newhall.
Martindale’s gallery was unique, in that it featured paintings inspired by Beanie Babies – the small, once collectable, plush animal dolls that rose to popularity in the 1990s. The paintings weren’t based on the dolls themselves, but they expressed images of nature inspired by the dolls.
Martindale said she’s always used nature as a muse; drawing from the otherwise benign and seeing a deeper story meant to be told.
“Whatever God creates is just amazing to me,” said Martindale. “Just looking at an orchid, for example, I don’t just see a flower. I see other things in the flower – it just tells a story with a whole plan and how the flowers are on each stem.”
Martindale said she doesn’t remember exactly how her mother acquired the Beanie Babies, but once she had she didn’t know what to do with them. Martindale then came up with the idea of drawing a small piece for each one and then placing shadow boxes around them for framing.
By looking at each Beanie Baby, Martindale could go further – drawing on one of the most serene places in her memory, Descanso Gardens, to garner further inspiration.
“Like if it was a dog, I was thinking, ‘Would you want to walk around in a garden?’ Actually, some of the dog ones with a garden are [memories] from Descanso,” said Martindale. “And then, I don’t know there’s different ones – like fishes you know under the sea. That type of stuff.”
Martindale said she first began painting as a child, but the key to getting to this point was never giving up – a deterrent she said many artists suffer from.
“I got into art when I was really young, like most artists. I just grew up loving it and I never stopped and it’s just something I always love to do,” said Martindale. “I was definitely determined to keep doing it. I know there’s a lot of artists saying, ‘You know, we can’t do it or you know, it’s just a lot of barriers,’ but you just got to keep going and just tell yourself, ‘You can do it.’”
Losing her aunt recently was something Martindale said kept her inspiration going and the entire gallery was dedicated to her. Family seemed to be an important part of Martindale’s burgeoning art career, saying that many in her family came a long way to see her debut.
“It feels really awesome. It’s definitely exciting and you just see all your hard work on the wall and then you’re just proud of yourself,” said Martindale “Then you have family supporting you and just seeing them, they’re coming from [very] far away and it’s just really nice.”
As for the future, Martindale said this was only the beginning.
“This is definitely a start for me,” said Martindale. “I’m hoping that this will boost my confidence and get me to keep producing more art.”