Courtney Derrick

1/25/2013 | Amy Tibbals
Stacey Jo Rabiger

Courtney-Derrick_Salt-Lake-Local_Artist-17 From its inception, the primary purpose of the cityhomeCOLLECTIVE blog has been to highlight the local talents, beautiful spaces, and brilliant ideas of our adored clients and friends that we think are deserving. As of late, we're finding SLC talent in the faces of those we've never met prior to interviewing them. In this particular case, however, I'm getting back to roots.

Courtney Derrick is a local talent with an awesome last name. I'd like to make claim that her talent runs in the bloodline, but she was an amazing artist long before she joined our family. Courtney approaches life and art with a infectiously jovial attitude. She's happy, and it shows in her work. Those that have visited Pallet are well aware of her talents...every last painting in the place is hers. And there are 20+ pieces nearing completion for upcoming shows that prove she knows how to get it done, but I have much respect for the way in which she does it. Court's a stellar example of a local creative living a harmonious life [solid work, sis]. Read on...

See her work here


Has it always been in you to create? I've seen you work for more than ten years now; tell us how your art has changed since you started painting. I have always tried to paint what I see rather than what I know is in front of me. I look for relationships between color and value, and put it on the canvas until it finally starts to make sense. I think I'm getting better at that. With confidence, I am getting more loose with my application and things seem to flow better.

You recently landed a very sought-after apprenticeship with Randall Lake [whom we interviewed a while back]. Quite the honor. What do you think he sees in your work/you that made him choose you? I have no idea...maybe I was the nicest? Just kidding. I think he was looking for someone he didn't need to teach the basics to. Someone a little further along in their career. This came at an incredibly perfect time for me. I hadn't been painting for a while and felt like I was floating around trying to figure out where to go in my career.

What is it like to be painting with Randall as often as you are? First off, he is an incredible person.  He is simply a joy to be around and a great friend. He's helped me be more open-minded with my approach to painting. The way I learned to paint in college is not the only way (who would have thought). He is a master of color and I tend to mute my palette quite a bit. I was painting with 8 or 10 colors before and now I'm using about 25. He also pushes me in the finishing of a painting; helps me take a it from 'good' to 'great'.

You were chosen to paint every piece in Pallet [the restaurant we designed]. Was I horrible to work with? Kidding. That's not the real question. Tell us about your experience, though... painting so many pieces with a "mood" dictated by a designer. Seriously, was it awful? It was horrible being bossed around like that! No...actually, it was so nice for me. It had been almost 10 years since I painted consistently (sidetracked with 4 babies). I loved having an assignment and a deadline, but with a project where I could fit the direction within my style. I needed that direction, or I would have wandered around my studio for a year. That would have been bad.

I know of three galleries in the last few months that have asked you to show your work in their space. Can you whisper any secrets of your future plans? I have two group shows coming up in February; one at 15th Street Gallery and one at Slusser Gallery. They open February 15!

What does painting do for you personally? I always figured I needed to put painting on the back burner until my kids were older, but I really struggled with it. I was constantly feeling like I needed to be doing something with it -- it was always in the back of my mind. When we moved back to Utah, we had a big room that I made my studio. There's a big conference table that I covered with plastic and two closets full of loads of arts & crafts stuff for my kids. They spend hours in there with me. I think that's been the main difference; they are included in the whole process, and it makes painting so much more do-able.  Don't get me wrong, though...most of my painting gets done after everyone is asleep. Sometimes I paint into the wee hours of the morning, but I feel fulfilled and complete.

Talk to us about the art scene in Utah from your perspective. After graduating from art school, I lived in L.A., painted quite a bit, and had some pieces hanging in a local restaurant. From there, we went to Las Vegas, where the art scene is pretty different. I wandered around a lot doing desert landscapes and found it to be really beautiful. I never found much of an art community (although, that doesn't mean it wasn't there). I found a figure-drawing group that I got together with a little bit, but it was hard finding resources, etc. Here in Salt Lake, it's crazy. There are so many talented artists and such a rich culture here. It's so nice to be immersed in it.

Who/what inspires you? I am really inspired by artists like Euan Uglow, Van Gogh, Sargent, and of course, Randall Lake. My professors from college, Paul Davis and John Erickson, made a big impact on me. Watching my kids paint is awesome. They're so uninhibited with what they do. I want to paint like that. My husband is my biggest fan...he pushes me and works me to the bone! Ha I so appreciate his enthusiasm for what I do. It's my biggest motivator.



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