San Antonio artist Heather Gauthier captures the beauty and whimsy of our love of animals. Photo courtesy of Heather Gauthier
Artist Heather Gauthier doesn’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t creating things. From her childhood days as an imaginative, home-schooled “weirdo” growing up in Lubbock, Texas to her early married life living in South Africa, Gauthier has been sketching and painting scenes of beauty and wildlife her entire life.
“There wasn’t much to do or see in Lubbock, the flattest, ugliest, cowiest town in West Texas. It meant my inner life was a lot richer,” Gauthier says. Both she and her brother are artists. She attributes their artistry to the fact that both of them had to rely on their imaginations for stimulation.
Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder
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Though she took art classes briefly at Texas Tech (“I left running and shrieking for the hills, far, far away from Lubbock”), Gauthier has mostly been self-taught. Years of practice helped her hone her craft and find her voice as an artist. Her goal is to make art that is beautiful and that makes people happy. With pieces often featuring flora and fauna in exploding colors, Gauthier creates pictures that have a whimsical depiction of life and beauty.
“I am all about beauty. I create art that depicts a reality I wish was real,” she says.
Lions, tigers and bears, along with hippos, zebras and birds of every variety, are often the subjects of Gauthier’s art. Though the animals themselves are gorgeous and glorious and regal, Gauthier often lightens the mood of the painting by adding beautiful bouquets of flowers, hats, beads and other adornments on her subjects. Her art is playful and done with a sense of humor, despite her subject matters being serious creatures.
“I take pride in my work but I can’t take myself too seriously,” she says.
Playing the Artist Card
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Asked what the best thing about being an artist is, Gauthier responds with “my Artist Card.”
“Why am I wearing hot dogs in my hair? Artist. Why does my house look like multiple factory explosions? Artist. Why can I never remember to sign my kids’ homework? Artist.”
Her offbeat sense of humor resonates with a particular audience and Gauthier has grown a following particularly in San Antonio, her current home base, along with a few other cities like Napa and Aspen. However, she says that New Orleans is her “artistic mothership” and it is there that she has been the most successful.
“People get me there and I deeply appreciate it. I paint the things I do for all the same reasons that I love New Orleans,” says Gauthier. Her work can be found at Gallery Orange on Royal Street in the French Quarter.
“I think the unusual and unique fun spirit of her work fits well into Nola, plus her love for anything flowery, joie de vivre and love of food all resonate with people here,” says Tracy Gielbert of Gallery Orange.
Work and Life Balance
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Speaking of fitting, as a mother of two young children, Gauthier balances being a parent and an artist and paints in great bursts when her schedule allows. Sometimes, she says, she’ll let her kids pass some time in front of the television and work at a furious pace while they’re otherwise engaged. Often, she paints once they’ve headed off to bed. With school back in session, Gauthier plans to spend more time in her studio and on her easel.
The fall of 2018 will be a busy time for the adventure-seeking traveler. She’s working on a book cover for Harper Collins, a line of china and home linens and larger shows in San Antonio and New Orleans. Despite clocking in many hours painting, Gauthier says one of her goals this year is to take a little more time to just relax and ease up on her pace.
“I really want to chill some more this year,” she says. Gauthier has, to date, packed her schedule with events, launches and lots more painting. Her love for the creative process and painting means she will continue to produce works that will entice fans to keep buying her art – and will undoubtedly keep her busy.