PowerHouse: Stephanie Henderson

Welcome to PowerHouse!

PowerHouse has dual meaning. On one hand, it’s about the individual. This person is a PowerHouse, fearlessly following their passion. Additionally, the place they call “home” is a PowerHouse because it’s supporting and inspiring their life from behind the scenes. When our home supports the life we desire it naturally becomes our PowerHouse. This is the essence of Dwellosophy. Every single one of us is a PowerHouse, we’re in various stages along our unique path, some of us are living it, some are fiercely seeking it and some of us feel it within, just waiting to blossom. “Does this path have a heart?...If it does, the path is good;...as long as you follow it, you are one with it.” Carlos Casteneda You’re going to love getting to know Stephanie Henderson. I discovered Stephanie through a mutual friend and became instantly intrigued by her. I recall a few of the words my friend used to describe Stephanie, “down-to-earth, funny, natural beauty, Southern, paints targets”. Paints targets? Yes. Stephanie is an accomplished artist and the majority of her work takes the simple form of a target to a whole new level. You’d never guess how truly captivating a target could be! After chatting with Stephanie and sitting with our conversation dancing in my mind, “A Cinderella Story” kept pulling my attention. I brushed off the analogy as silly and trivial. After days of this message beckoning, my curiosity piqued. I opted for listening over trivializing the concept. For moms especially, Stephanie Henderson’s story is akin to the grown woman’s version of a fairy tale…or the converging of two tales. As many moms do, she wholeheartedly poured her focus and creative energy into her children. And when they flew the nest she launched a wildly successful career as a painter. Her art is about simplicity of form that allows color to speak for itself. She paints with the belief that bold, beautiful, unadulterated color affects the observer to its fullest potential without the distraction of a complicated composition. One of the most inspiring things about Stephanie, is she’s what most would call a late bloomer. Since her first art class in the 4th grade, Stephanie loved painting. “The urge to create has always been there.” But she was a mom first and foremost, and the art took a back seat. “I needed to be messy creatively and I found ways to do that with my kids. There were always play doh messes and cookies with icing all over the kitchen...it fed me and it influenced my children.” When her youngest child was 13 and in middle school, she had a durable amount of time during the day to explore her art. She took advantage of it and the flood gates opened! What inspired you to follow your passion? “All I did was paint. I’d fit in exercise, but all I wanted to do was make art and stand in front of my easel. Thank God I found it, nothing fulfills me like this. I dropped anything that was not fulfilling. It was such a strong muse that there was no turning it off.” “It feels like it happened as it should have. I don’t feel I could have been the mom I wanted to be, truly present and patient with my children, with the creative passion I’ve found over the last 6 years. It’s my obsession now and I think I would have found myself frustrated with the pull between being present for my kids and being present and fully immersed with my art. Creating makes me happy.” Did you notice your home change as your work life changed? “I had taken over the studio as my own creative space, then I took over the guest room. There are resin drips all over the house! I only work from home and couldn’t imagine having to work anywhere else. I can literally work from the moment I get up and fill my day with my work and passion.My work has made me love my house more. My home feels even more fulfilling to me now.” Do you have a space from childhood that looking back inspired your own art? “My dad had a similar passion. He had his own workshop. He was a doctor, yet he was similarly driven to create. He had a wood shop and was always building. He built a wooden boat...so I think it runs in the family...this creative obsession. We similarly are fed by our need to fulfill and tap into our passion...it drove us.” When did you realize your passion could become viable work? “My friends started buying my art, which was nice. But one friend, in particular, was pivotal. She had an art gallery. When she took on my work, I became more attractive to other galleries and it grew from there...that was six years ago. And to be completely honest, I would not be where I am today without Instagram. It’s true! Social media has made my art available to such a wide audience that would have been impossible to reach only a few years ago!” Stephanie considers her art to be as much about color studies as painting. She’s inspired by color combinations and their endless potential. Color is what moves her, what drives her. The seasons inform her process and beckon specific colors primarily because her studio space, similar to being outdoors, is surrounded by 3 sides of floor to ceiling windows. “The targets are very much informed by the colors of the season”. Last spring she used lots of blues because the hydrangeas in her husband’s gardens were in bloom and surrounded the studio. In the fall the targets tended towards mustard yellows and magentas. She uses acrylic for her targets and oil for her water paintings, which is a slower and more meticulous process. Again informed by the space where she paints, she can’t really do them in winter because her studio is so cold that the oils can take weeks to dry. Her fine tuned focus on her art also shows up in theme. She uses only 3-5 forms and 4 colors in each target. The first targets she painted were centered on the canvas and as the creative process has evolved they have begun to move around, some resting at the bottom of the canvas or floating off the side.“I like the imbalance, it adds interest to a painting.” Her water paintings are completely different. Done in oil, they are inspired by Stephanie's love for the quiet and stillness of water. Nature also shows up in her work in the forms of box turtles, arrowheads, cairns and mountains. The Labyrinth paintings are pure fun and are hard to look away from! Each is a true maze, with only one way in and out and the lines are crisp and clean. They are the most challenging to paint.“They’re like a puzzle, they take lots of time and thought.” We are all artists in some form, it’s just a matter of when we tap into our passion and offer it the time and space to fully form. One of the many things I truly love about Stephanie's work is the message her targets send us. The target offers a perspective for measuring your focus and aim with precision. Let's run with Stephanie's theme! Ask yourself these questions: How are you on target with your passion? Where is your focus? Is your life on target with the things you want? It’s fascinating to me how one person following their passion can impact so many people's lives. Stephanie is a beautiful example of the ripple effect of passion in action. Her passion resides in peoples homes, informing their space in positive and profound whispers. Our homes are a reflection of our life. Her art speaks to the heart of passion, for herself and for each of us. Thank you, Stephanie for sharing your work and passion. You’re truly an inspiration. Stephanie lives and works in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta with her family and two dogs. Visit her website at http://www.stephaniehendersonpaintings.com/ and you should definitely follow her on Instagram!