In the eighth grade, artist Kirsten Stobie was diagnosed with a heart condition called vasovagal syncope.
Simply put, she faints easily. Not life threatening – unless she happens to faint in a less than favorable setting – the condition is triggered by things like stress, pain and heat.
Believing strongly in the idea that everything happens for a reason, Stobie lives a simple life, and shares her inspirations with others via a brush and layers of paint with added elements including feathers and sheet music.
“Art is a release of constricted thoughts on canvas through paint,” she said. “It’s my therapy; a time to clear my head and let go. The paintings are not painted for approval but it is a true expression of the moment and it shows through the lines in every painting – rash, calm, bold or faint.”
Stobie, 25, began her artistic endeavors early. In the fifth grade, she won a “Mr. Yuk” drawing competition and at East Valley High School one of her paintings, titled “A Hard Day’s Work,” was chosen to hang at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
After graduating from high school, Stobie traveled to Gambia in Africa, where her mother is a missionary. Stobie was there for two months and came home and wondered why she had six pillows on her bed. “They had nothing over there but they were so happy,” she said. “Everyone should visit a Third World country to gain perspective; we don’t really need all the things we think we need.”
Whether her philosophy on life comes from her condition or the time she spent in Africa, she has learned to appreciate every little thing.
“I love how art can evoke emotion, a memory, or even a desire. I am moved by optimistic people; finding the good in life is the only way to live,” she explained. “Never get upset over spilled paint. As Bob Ross taught us, ‘There are no mistakes, only happy accidents’ and that is the way I chose to live my life. From every person I meet to every fall I gracefully accept, life is all about the lessons you learn. I really try to embrace that through my paintings.”
Not confining herself to one style or medium, she enjoys the discovery aspect of art. “As I grow I am constantly in search of new styles, textures and techniques. That’s the wonderful thing about art: endless possibilities.” Inspired by nature and human nature, she captures the fluctuation of both in a mix of realism, impressionism and abstract – swirling, flowing and dripping as if in constant motion.