Queen Anne Artist Scott Ward wants you to feel good about his flights of fancy.
Ward is not your usual surly artist. Instead, he embraces his audience and wants to inspire happiness and positive ideas through his colorful, whimsical oil paintings.
"I feel a sense of responsibility," says the Minneapolis native who moved to Queen Anne. "I want to have some positive impact on the world. This is my strongest voice. If I can make people feel good, I am serving my purpose."
Ward began exploring art in his early childhood back in Minnesota. His family encouraged him to continue to grow his artistic skills through his early education.
But as Ward got older, he doubted he could make a living doing what he loved, so he went to the University of Minnesota to study commercial design and illustration.
After moving to Seattle in 1989, he worked as a freelancer and contract designer for 10 years, in clothing, graphics, interior design and landscape design.
On the side, he began painting colorful, whimsical designs for greeting cards.
He began working as a creativity mentor for younger artists, encouraging them to explore and invest in their art. He realized it was time to take his own advice.
In 1999, he started painting fulltime. Six months later, he did a show of his work at a cafe. That went well, and six months after that he did a show at a gallery and sold every piece.
Although he lost track of a number of his earlier paintings, Ward estimates that he has completed more than 200 oil paintings. On average, he finishes about 20 paintings each year.
Where does Ward get his inspiration? Sketching. All the time. "The ideas come visually, I use the things, people, experiences around me."
When it's time to paint, he selects the drawing that speaks to him the most. "I feel very lucky because I have no shortage of material. I've never really experienced 'writer's block'," Ward said.
The paintings are more than just vibrant colors, flowing lines and surreal people and places. "I paint this way because it's so approachable - I can hang it, and no one will know what it means to me," Ward says.
He classifies some of his pieces as allegorical. "These paintings are the most meaningful to me because they're the most personal...each piece is a part of me working things out in the world."
Some of them contain spiritual meaning to Ward, like his painting titled, "To Tree or Not to Tree." In this painting as well as some others, like "Of Pride and Peace," Ward paints swirls (called scroll work) and he hides words within the scroll work that partially explain the piece's meaning.
While he supports himself through sales of his paintings, he also takes on commissioned work for specific clients.
Ward said he enjoys doing a commissioned piece because "I get to know people; who they are ... my work becomes a combination of them and me. It's a great creative challenge," Ward said.
Ward's work will go on display at Pogacha Restaurant in Issaquah on Saturday, Aug. 28, and will stay there until Oct. 9. Ward will also be participating in the Uptown Stroll on Saturday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See more of Ward's work on his website scottwardart.com.[[In-content Ad]]