Kanny is a master of oil landscapes and creates soft yet vivid pieces with a touch of the magnificent.
Let's talk to her a little bit.
Do you listen to music when you paint?
Definitely! I love listening to live mixes and productions, one of my favorites is FKJ! I think it's really important and helps me get into the right mood to create.
Do you have a favorite moment when you create?
My favorite moments are when the piece sort of creates itself. Sometimes it's challenging and I have to put a lot of effort into making it work the way I envisioned in my mind but the magical moments are when it's very intuitive and reveals itself to me.
What's the scariest part of being an artist?
The scariest part is when I have to show my new collection to the world. Sometimes collections mean a lot to me personally but don't make any sales. Showing work feels very vulnerable, as I'm hoping that what resonated and inspired me also connects with others — but sometimes it doesn't. It's unpredictable. But this is not necessarily a bad thing because just doing predictable repetitive things because I know people respond defeats the purpose of art.
I was looking back on some of my earlier paintings from just last year (when I launched @kannypaints) and I already see such a huge difference!
I think with more time and focus put into the practice we will always get better, so it is a good sign and what motivates me to keep putting in the hours.
Do you have any bad artist habits?
I've been thinking about this recently—that I really need to draw/sketch more! So my worst artist habit is probably that I don't sketch enough! Since my main medium is oil paints, I've stopped drawing and developing those important skills.
How many hours do you usually put into one of your pieces?
It depends. But more importantly I work in layers and build them over a few days / sessions, waiting overnight for the paint to dry just enough so that the next day I can go back and add another layer of color or detail and be able to blend it with the underlying layers in just the right consistency.
Do you ever paint 100% from your imagination or do you usually stick to your reference photos?
I do paint from imagination, from a reference photo and also a mixture of both. It's never about just copying a photograph even with realism - there's a lot to consider such as composition and color. This year, I have started to create very personal large abstract paintings that explore the more interdimensional and supersensible realities that we can experience - pieces that trigger memories and emotions, and that start deeper conversations.
“...pieces that trigger memories and emotions, and that start deeper conversations.”
A lot of your artwork seems to be inspired by your travels - is that right?
Rather than an escape, it's more like an appreciation and celebration of the plethora of environments and natural phenomena existing on Earth. It seems like such a narrow existence to only see or live in one place. I would love to visit Iceland next.
You've painted all different types of landscapes - which one would you say is your favorite?
As an expansion of the previous question, I am in awe of the diversity of landscapes and environments existing on Earth, so it is difficult for me to have a favourite as they are all special in their own ways.
Did it take you a while to decide that oil paints were your favorite medium?
Once I tried oils it was hard to go back to acrylics, even though I use oils in a way that appears like acrylics. I think the oil base somehow lends to more depth in color, and I often use techniques of blending in my work that are much easier to control due to longer drying times of oil paints. This is where I am right now and will probably learn and change as I gain more experience and practice.
What are you working on right now?
Last year I finished a collection of sunsets called 'eons'. I like to create both collections and individual paintings. I just released my 2021 sunset collection: Sol.
I am still in the early stages of my career so I think it is important to explore many different methods and ideas.
Kanny Yeung is a oil painter living in Hong Kong. Follow her @kannypaints or check out her website.