No Method is More Effective Than Your Latest Mood

“I have an idea what I want … but I let my [painting tools] lead me,” says Sun Sohovich.
Portrait by Colby Rabon

“Sometimes I dance when I paint, and some days I am very personal and I put that feeling onto canvas,” reveals Waynesville artist Sun Sohovich. “Meanwhile, I make wonderful accident strokes and I love that — and try to make that same mistake again.” 

A self-taught artist, she explains, “I don’t have any exact method I follow. I follow my heart and mood of that day.”

Only Look Forward

Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, she lived in several different cities throughout the U.S. and held a variety of jobs over the years, all of them unrelated to art. She was a cosmetologist and later worked as a realtor in New Jersey. Her last job, she says, was as a production controller for a Korean company in Tennessee. In 2014, she married a man who was working in Waynesville as a financial adviser, and she has lived there ever since.

We Are Together

“Art was always in me,” says Sohovich, “but life did not let me into art right away. About ten years ago, when I was living in Johnson City, I decided, ‘It is time to do what I love to do.’ I soaked up painting like a sponge.” 

To accelerate her learning curve, she took numerous online classes, workshops, and private lessons. She also learned by studying works by other artists (notably Quang Ho, Laura Robb, and Phil Starke), taking one thing from each of them and working on those until they became part of her own skillset. 

Dancing Trees of Blue Ridge

“I remind myself often of this quote by Vincent Van Gogh: ‘I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.’” 

Mostly, though, she learned by painting. Every day.

“I finally realized that I needed to loosen up and be myself and enjoy the process and watch how I grow up with my art.” As she embraced more artistic freedom, she began to notice how we are all surrounded by lines, shapes, lights, and shadows. “Putting all that in a painting in a way that brings depth and makes things move is more interesting to me than definite lines of everything,” Sohovich says. 

Waterrock Knob Walk 1

In the beginning, she experimented with acrylics and some other materials, but landed on oils “[because] it gives me enough time to push and turn to make interesting textures and colors.”

She starts her portraits by making simple outline drawings. But for her other paintings — landscapes, animals, flowers, seascapes, and still lifes — “I have an idea of what I want on canvas and just let my palette knife and brushes and paint lead me,” says the artist.

Bermuda Water

She doesn’t need to go far. “When I walk my dog every day, I see blue mountains and always try to remember the different shades of blue and the colors of the trees. I want to capture the special moment and try to put it on my canvas. I am learning something new every single painting I do, and it is changing as I am changing.”

Sun Sohovich, Waynesville. Sohovich’s paintings will be featured in Colors of Life,  an exhibit that runs throughout March at Asheville Gallery of Art (82 Patton Ave., downtown Asheville, ashevillegallery-of-art.com). Her work is also represented by New Morning Gallery (7 Boston Way, Biltmore Village, newmorninggallerync.com), Mountain Nest (133 Cherry St., Black Mountain, mtnnest.com), Twigs & Leaves Gallery (98 North Main St., Waynesville, twigsandleaves.com), Art MoB (124 4th Ave. East, Hendersonville, artmobstudios.com), and Gallery Zella (166 Everett St., Bryson City, galleryzella.com). For more information about the artist, visit portraitartbysun.com

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