Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Sep 29, 2020 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Rounding the corner at Grand Rapids Comic Con last year, we stopped in awe. In front of us was extremely whimsical, playful, creative art that made me smile with pure joy.

The artist? Kat VanderWeele, whose art makes us happy.

Home. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele

Based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, VanderWeele works as a freelance illustrator, under the title LimningHouse Illustration

VanderWeele received her BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design, where her student work was awarded by the Society of Illustrators in 2011.  She has since worked from an in-home studio while raising her two daughters.  

VanderWeele's work is often described as whimsical and storybook-like, befitting her ambitions to illustrate books, poems, and children's stories.  She works in a variety of traditional and digital mediums, favoring a mixed-media of gouache and colored pencil.  

woodcut houses. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
woodcut houses

Her work has been exhibited in various venues and businesses throughout west Michigan, including Keeler Gallery, Lions & Rabbits, the Arts Council of White Lake, Founder's Brewing Company, the Grand Rapids Brewing Company, Madcap Coffee, Common Ground Coffee Shop, and Gallery 154. 

Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration

Without further ado, the art and words of Kat VanderWeele:

little house. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
little house

How long have you been an artist?
I suppose always. It seems inherent, as children we learn to draw, and I simply never stopped.

junk lady. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
junk lady

Is your art your full-time career?
The development of my art career has been gradual over the past five years, interwoven with part-time jobs and being an all-the-time mother. I had intentions to pursue freelance work full-time this year, the onset of Covid-19 hindered those plans for an array of reasons. Presently I am assisting my children with virtual schooling while pursuing my work part-time.  

imagine. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
imagine

storybook page. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
storybook page

Where do you work?  How long have you been there? Do you have favorite places you like to create?
Having been a mother of two for the past decade, my studio has always been in-home - though it has migrated through different rooms of the house over the years. Presently I work out of a shared art-studio/home-schooling space we've set up for the school year. Once upon a time, before 2020, I enjoyed on occasion (and when the project allowed) working at a local coffee or bookshop. I have also (until Covid) been the host of a community artist meet-up every Monday night for the past four years.  

autumn. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
autumn

What does a typical day look like?  Is there a typical day?
I am very much in the beginnings of a new career chapter, and don't yet feel I've reached a settled rhythm for my typical work day. In working from home, it can be a challenge to separate monetary work, creative experimentation, and the rest of one's life. Often setting up my pallet is done between loads of laundry, and layers of paint dry while I run the vacuum. I attend to commission inquiries while assisting with 5th grade long division, and clean my paintbrushes alongside the dinner dishes. The regular multitasking can often limit my capacity for certain projects.  In navigating the future, I hope to implement a more dedicated work rhythm, as there's an awful lot of art I'd like to create.  

earth queen. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
earth queen

wolf spirit. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
wolf spirit

What materials do you prefer?
I enjoy so many different materials. Within my work space there are various papers, paints, inks, pencils, wood, fabric, animal bones, and an iPad. My preference of late has been a mixed media of gouache and colored pencil. This past year I have also been familiarizing myself with digital illustration, working in the program Procreate. My most instinctual media, and the starting place for much of my work, is a good sketchbook and pencil.

abstract sight. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
abstract sight

pencil sketch. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
pencil sketch

Where/How are you inspired?
That's a hard one to sum up - I find inspiration is constant, little pieces of my experiences weave into the story, style, palette, and themes of the art I'm compelled to create. I find it in the natural world, plants, animals, and the changing of seasons. In old world architecture, dilapidated barns, patchwork fabric, and warm glowing lanterns. Clockwork, music boxes, and marionettes. The way light catches in diamond pane windows, and music played in a minor key. I'm inspired by books, fables, spiritual stories, and the work of other artists and illustrators. My personal art over the last few years has all been tied, in one way or another, to the unwritten stories in my head.  

misfit. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
misfit

garlic. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
garlic

How do you know when your piece is done? Do you work on one or more pieces at a time?
I usually know a piece is done, when I realize I should've stopped painting several hours ago. I do a fair amount of multitasking with my work, and typically have multiple half-finished pieces in circulation. I am also regularly trying to balance commission work with my own concept work. I have made various painted wooden cut-outs, little houses, vegetables, animals, ornaments, whimsical characters, etc, and those I generally work on in sets. I've found its more efficient to have similar projects to work on, while waiting for layers of paint to dry on others.  

carrots. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
carrots

If you were not an artist, what would you do?
Art has shaped so much of my life that it's hard to imagine not being some form of artist, even if I chose not to pursue it as a career. I've always loved the idea of owning a shop, be it a bookshop, coffee shop, or art house of some sort. It's an undefined dream that still whispers once in awhile. I would also likely spend more time learning to play music. I'm not well versed at any specific instrument, but when I can manage to steal an hour to myself, I love to play simple chord progressions and write songs, usually connected to some bit of art or story I'm concocting. I haven't ruled out the possibility of those, or other pursuits being somewhere in my future, but my present ambitions lie in writing and illustrating my own storybooks.  

From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration

How can our readers find and purchase your art?
My artwork can be viewed at LimningHouse.com, or more casually through Facebook and Instagram.  I typically sell my work at local art fairs throughout the year, and out of Gallery 154 in Eastown, GR.  I will be launching an online shop in the near future, and in the meantime can be reached at limninghouse [at] gmail.com, or through facebook.  

flour. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
flour

limninghouse. From Artist Spotlight: Kat VanderWeele, LimningHouse Illustration
limninghouse

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Kat VanderWeele