There’s something about the colourful, energetic works of Foksynes, which lift my spirits. When I found out that Foksynes had only started to learn how to professionally paint a few years ago, I was impressed. Even more so when I learned that she had decided to pursue this new journey full time. Changing careers paths completely is always a leap of bravery, never mind changing so drastically.
When I moved to Amsterdam, there was the choice to find a new job in IT or try something new. I decided to try to learn to paint, as I’m not getting younger and didn’t want to regret that I’d missed the opportunity.
But it was terrifying! I didn’t have the proper education or good knowledge of business; you learn how to deal with everything again. I am still learning and trying to figure out everything on the go.
Growing up, Foksynes had been introduced to art through her grandfather, who was a professional artist: “I remember asking him to draw a horse for me. I was very young and didn’t understand what his profession was at that time as he always worked at the studio. My grandfather drew a tiny knight on a horse with a simple pencil just from his imagination. It took just a couple minutes but felt like real magic to me. I wanted to be able to do the same.”
I think, however, nobody believed that there would be another artist in the family. So, I somehow accepted that as fact. When the first PC became available, my grandfather was among the first who used it with Corel Paint and Photoshop. That was my introduction to digital art! It was very inspiring and insightful, but at the same time, it held me back to consider art professionally earlier.
A philosophy in Art
Foksynes’ genuine enthusiasm to continue learning is not only a pleasure to follow as she shares her artworks on her socials and via her Patreon. It’s an inspiration to anyone feeling that it may be too late to try something new, or develop an interest that has laid on the back-burner for a lifetime. So often, we come across stories from artists who were born with paintbrush in hand, ready to mark any surface in their way with artistic creativity. The stories of those who become artists later in life are fewer in between. Does the first avenue pave the way for true artistry over the other? I think not; we are ever-expanding creatures, capable of mastering new skills until the day we die.
There is a quote on her website, which stuck with me: “Our reality is constantly changing. It is impossible to stop time to create a perfect moment”. I found myself dwelling on the philosophies of art, how we use it to capture and represent moments and scenarios to share with the world. Our memories become integral instruments to fill in the gaps that sketches, even photographs, cannot fully comprehend. If we cannot stop time to create the perfect moment in reality, can this concept of a ‘perfect moment’ be truly captured on the canvas?
Foksynes, however, has taken a different approach. Her earlier works focus less on capturing the perfect moment, and instead lean into the reality of her statement. You can see the sense of movement flowing through the Impressionist-style strokes that wisp around her central figures. These static paintings feel alive with an energy, a restlessness.
A reflection of emotion
What intrigued me just as much was how her style has slowly moved away from this, settling into a place of more grandeur portraiture. When I broached this with her, I learned that these paintings have become a visual diary of Foksynes’ own emotions. As she has gained more knowledge and confidence in her skills, her paintings seem to have taken on these traits.
I agree, the first year in a new country was hectic, and my painting style was a reflection of it. It was a time of re-evaluation of many essential parts of my life. I still struggle with self-doubt as I’m not financially successful as I used to be in IT. I always love to paint like this [Impressionist style], but I also want to explore a more realistic approach. Moreover, my skills improved from that time; I have more tools under my belt right now.
I was afraid for some time to try fantasy as my primary subject. But right now, I feel like I’m on the correct path even if someone will call it ‘childish’.
One of the things I enjoy most about following Foksynes is the way she openly shares the journey in creating a painting. Seeing each layer build from a ghostly sketch to a fully rounded character is like watching a bare winter garden grow into the blooms of summer. The depth, detail and colour Foksynes maintains is a genuine pleasure to perceive. “I remember when I observed my grandfather creating storyboards for books he illustrated. It was fascinating! It also taught me to appreciate the work that goes to the creation process.”
Sharing knowledge and education
Furthermore, it’s easy to see her pure enjoyment for painting coming through in every piece she creates. Perhaps most interestingly, this practice helps you as the viewer to further your journey with this artist, watching how she continues to evolve. “I hope we will not allow the outside world to draw the borders of our reality, and be more open about what is meaningful for us.” She shares, thoughtfully.
As well as step by step images, Foksynes provides tutorial videos. These reflect her passion for knowledge: “I believe education should be free for students.” she shares. “But most countries are not there yet. If I can, I share some of my knowledge for free.” Her public video guides to date have included her ‘Secrets of an Artist’s Studio’ series, with more in-depth guidance saved for her Patreon followers. “I try to balance, as many other artists do, and provide some materials on Patreon exclusively. I will lie if I don’t tell you that it’s partly self-promotion. But also, I want to find like-minded people to connect with. Most of my days, I spend alone with my dogs at the studio!”
So what’s next for Foksynes?
“I have big plans for my YouTube channel and Patreon.” Foksynes shares. “I have a vast list [for new tutorial videos], and my followers on Instagram always gives me ideas via DM. I’m also more concerned about producing personal work and find people who like it via the web. Hopefully, I can build sustainable business from it. It would be nice to get involved in some projects with other artists too.”
Overall, the glow that radiates from her paintings continues to mirror her love for the craft. Most recently, she has just completed her Divine series, reimagining a host of strong female characters from history and mythology. I can’t help but think that these women reflect the strength Foksynes is finding in herself, both in the stories they have to share as well as her literal jump into a new style of art. To paint for oneself, for happiness, is a gift. I for one can’t wait to see what comes next.