We have long admired the Tea Stained Ladies of Charleston-based artist Whitney Stoddard. Her Ladies painted on paper and intentionally stained with tea, personify the power of simplicity, confidence, and sass with their"je ne sais quoi" expressions and sentiment. Inspired by classic design elements and all things vintage, Whitney’s work complements and pairs perfectly with a wide range of unique interior design styles - it comes as no surprise that we were immediately drawn to her work. Therefore, we are beyond thrilled to announce Whitney is now a part of Well + Wonder collective! As we prepare for Whitney to join the W+W team, we sat down with Whitney to chat and learn a little more about the person behind the paintings...
What is currently on your nightstand?
A stack of books I’ve read, and another stack I’m in the midst of reading. I tend to be a bit flighty when it comes to reading one book at a time (something I’m working on!)…
A small hand-painted porcelain jewelry dish a dear friend gifted me. I keep small stud earrings and a few rings in it at night…A mother’s “one-day at a time” journal I’m absolutely terrible about remembering to write in… and a small framed photo of my husband and me (from years ago) on a trip out west.
Who is your biggest influence as an artist and why?
I’m inspired and influenced by so many different things, but I think a predominant and overwhelming theme throughout my artwork is emotion. I really love creating a deep sense of feeling and emotion through simplicity. I think this is so powerful. The female figure has been a dominant part of my work for this very reason. I’ve always considered myself somewhat of an “old soul,” so a lot of my current work has been inspired from old photos and all things vintage...I think they create the most amazing sense of nostalgia for times past.
Tell us about your childhood. What is the most memorable moment as a young person?
Oh goodness…I grew up in a very small town in the Upstate of South Carolina. I’m not certain I can recall a “most memorable” moment, but I can say that my childhood is filled with a lot of happy memories with sweet friends and family.
If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why?
I think it’s safe for me to say it would be black paint ☺ I do actually paint with other colors, but I love how challenging black paint can be to create depth with…I suppose I love a challenge!
What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.
It’s a toss-up between my daughter’s nursery and our downstairs den. My daughter’s nursery is painted the most calming color (Benjamin Moore’s “Healing Aloe”), and is always such a happy place to be ☺ Our downstairs den is in competition because of the afternoon light that floods in every day. There’s just something about the light in Charleston that seems to be indescribable.
What is your biggest score online?
I purchased an incredible (and huge) neutral Oushak rug from a dealer on Etsy a few years ago, and I’m still shocked (and proud of myself) at what a great find it was! I love it so much ☺
What is the benefit of buying art through a collective? What do you recommend for those that are new to buying original art?
I think purchasing art through a collective is an amazing way to be exposed to a lot of different types of mediums and artists without being overwhelmed. Purchasing artwork should never feel intimidating or forced. A collective like W+W provides access to so many unique contemporary pieces.
If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
I love the MoMA in NYC. I could get lost inside for sure, but I’d have to say the Louvre & Musée d'Orsay in Paris are all-time sentimental favorites. I would advise going when the crowds aren’t terribly large (if you can manage that). This makes it feel more intimate. It also must be said that Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas is an absolute hidden gem! The entire museum is filled with breathtaking pieces, all created by American artists. The last time I visited, there was a Norman Rockwell exhibit being held, which included so many of his amazing pieces, “Rosie the Riveter” being one of them. It was so moving…if you ever happen to be in Northwest Arkansas, make it a point to visit Crystal Bridges!
What is your favorite hotel and what makes it special?
Without a doubt- Zero George here in Charleston! The hotel is located downtown (on George Street) and creates the most magical oasis for afternoon bike rides, lounging on their serene piazzas, cocktails & dinner. It’s a definite must-do when visiting Charleston!
If you were a lipstick color would you be red, pink, or clear and why?
I’d have to go with a corally-neutral ☺ I love a good pop of color on a lip, but for an everyday look, I tend to go more neutral.
I can never get on a plane without….
Headphones. And if traveling with a child…headphones ☺
How did you get into the world of art?
I have always loved to create. I think college was an especially pivotal time for me because I realized that I could work with so many new & different mediums and really “steer my own ship,” so to speak. A couple of years post-undergrad, I was living in Nashville & decided to attend The Watkins College of Art, Design, & Film. This was such an amazingly creative time for me and really helped me hone my love of drawing. It wasn’t until many (many) years later that I began selling my work. I really credit the time I spent at home with my daughter, right after she was born, with releasing some sort of creative block I didn’t even know I had. I will always remember this as being one of the most precious times in my life.
What do you do to relax?
This sounds funny, but painting really relaxes me! Turning on some music and zoning out into whatever I’m working on is the best way for me to unwind.
I also always find that a long walk on the beach works wonders for me…there’s something to be said about salty air and an ocean breeze. Those things….and a large glass of red wine ☺
When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
Usually right before I go to bed my mind is racing with loads of different ideas and visions, so I keep a running notepad on my phone to jot down all these thoughts & go through them the next day. They are really funny to read back, as they sometimes sound like the ramblings of a crazy person.
Prediction for the Color of 2017?
I’m thinking a deep corally-orange is going to be big this spring, summer, & fall.
What is your idea of a date night? Dinner and a movie or dancing all night?
My husband and I love a great meal, and thankfully, Charleston never disappoints in this area! We love to go out for drinks & dinner, and always love trying new spots.
Tell us about your favorite painting that you have created.
My clients always joke about me telling them “their piece is my favorite,” but it’s true! I have so many favorites, so it is bittersweet to see them leave my studio. Anytime I’ve hung a piece in my house before delivering to a client it’s a big mistake- I always want to keep it ☺
One piece of advice for buying original art?
Don’t second-guess yourself! I think sometimes it’s easy to get nervous about purchasing a piece and not knowing where to hang it…or the opposite- having something specific in mind for a certain place in their home. That can be overwhelming. If you like a piece and are drawn to it, for whatever reason that maybe, you’ll find the perfect place to showcase it! Art is always a great investment ☺