Before Hsin Lin’s paint brushes even begin to touch the canvas, she closes her eyes and meditates under a sky light in her Melbourne studio, imagining the way her flowers and leaves will stretch and grow across the canvas. She opens her eyes, puts her favourite music on, picks up her paint brushes and begins dipping into her paints.
For contemporary nature artist Hsin Lin, (@helloinnerpeace) creating is a form of meditation, a flow state where she reflects and finds meaning. Most of her artworks are painted in acrylic with each of her artworks having an affirmation to communicate her art’s meaning. These affirmations extend far beyond what’s painted on the canvas, hoping others will find joy and comfort in her art.
How would you describe yourself?
Hello beautiful people! I am Hsin Lin, an artist obsessed with the beauty and the form of flowers. Most of my inspiration comes from my observation of the natural world.
A short walk from the studio takes me into a beautiful forest and it’s there that I can touch the texture of the tree bark, observe the colours of the current season and feel the sunlight reflecting on the trees and grasses. I often find myself collecting leaves, feathers and other wonderful gifts from nature that have fallen to the ground. I love to observe these in great detail and reflect their beauty in my paintings.
Through my paintings, I see flowers as representing life, when I am carefully building up the tiny flower petals and leaf veins, it feels like I’m trying to figure out the uncertainty in life.
It is also a reminder that as the flowers are in full bloom, this is our time to be alive. As life presents itself, you can fight with all your will or you may dance with the flow, either way, human life is unique, one-of-a-kind and this journey belongs to you only.
What is it about nature that inspires you the
Being inspired by nature enlightens me in all aspects of life. The message that I wanted to deliver to the viewer are the pure joy and calmness that I experienced during my art process- the natural order, is what fascinates me the most.
I sometimes stand in front of the canvas meditating, imitating how the flower grows and extends in my mind, before my paint brushes touch the canvas.
Before art, you were working in fashion,
what drove you to swap fabric for canvas and pursue art?
I used to be a fashion designer owning my label. However, after returning to my beloved city of Melbourne, I swapped the manipulation of fabric for the enticing world of paint and canvas, and I have been creating art full-time ever since.
Although these two industries seem extremely different, to me there’s one thing in common, - clothes and canvas are all made from fabric. It’s all about what kind of story you want to tell with the medium.
How has your art style evolved?
I started with some small projects at the beginning, gaining enormous joy and peacefulness from the process. Then I started to work on more detailed and bigger projects, at the same time, to focus on developing my own skills and style -- which is a challenge that I set for myself from time to time, but a challenge I enjoy without a doubt.
Where does your mind drift to when you paint?
My mind drifts to a zone that no one can disturb. I lose track of time quite often in my studio while working on the details, which is also one of the reasons that some of my large scaled works take months to half of a year to finish.
It’s pure bliss to be able to indulge in the power of nature and creativity, and to also speak to the world with my paint brushes.
How important are affirmations to your art?
To be honest, the affirmations I have for every artwork are usually what I want to say to the viewer, or it may simply be something that I want to be told by others.
You may see the affirmations as a process of meditating within my art practice. I love the fact that whenever I see the piece, it’s a reminder of love. If the collector who owns it can feel the positive energy and have the reminder from the piece, then it will be the most amazing thing. Because I believe words like art, have power.
How do you set up
your studio or room?
I have a specific spot in the studio which is just under a sky light, I paint in that particular spot every day. I sometimes paint in the garden, if the weather is great - natural light is always the best. I always paint with music on and I get lost in time. I highly recommend Hollow Coves (my favourite Australian band!) and The Satellite Station.
How does it feel exhibiting your work?
Having your artwork exhibited in a gallery is like displaying a part of your true self to the public. It could be vulnerable in a certain way, but it feels magical at the same time to be able to speak to the world in the form of art too.
Do you have a favourite Mont Marte
I own a Mont Marte Premium Watercolour Paints 36pc set and I absolutely love it. The high-quality pigments and great transparency are perfect to work with. It is very handy and easy to set up. All I need is an artist pad, a few tubes, a cup of water for brushes and peace of mind. I often carry the set while travelling overseas and paint wherever I want.
There was one time I painted my cat Cadbury (a 9-year-old girl, I adopted from a shelter) at the boarding gate while I was waiting for transport. The process calmed me down almost immediately and some of the passengers who walked passed, even stopped and watched me paint for a short while. I can tell they were enjoying the process too with smile on their face.
That particular artwork was collected by an amazing couple in South Australia afterwards, who had just lost their beloved cat, who happened looked very much like my cat Cadbury. Through this artwork they could remember their beautiful cat forever and cherish all of the memories they have together.
I remember every moment of it, the joy of painting it, knowing that artwork comforts another person in the big world. And now the collectors are my life time friends. I sometimes feel art is more powerful than I think it is and I am still feeling grateful and blessed to be able to be in this incredible journey.
What are the best tips you’ve learned coming
into the industry?
There is no failure in art, every failure is a small step towards your goal. Because we either learn a lesson from it or stop for a short break then come back with full strength. Consistency is key.
What are you excited about for the future?
The future is full of uncertainty, that’s the most exciting part don’t you think? :)
We hope nature artist, Hsin Lin’s story has inspired you to create something! #montmarteart or tag us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook, we’d love to see what you create. Or see more of our featured artists here.