By Madison Blair
Photos by Morgan Hunt
Light streams in from kitchen windows, guiding Brittany Legvold as she layers paint into an abstract landscape-in-the-making. Between groceries and kitchen appliances, she sets up her station, complete with canvasses, brushes and acrylic paint. Next to her 3-year-old Anders paints with watercolors, a less-messy alternative to acrylic paint, at a small easel. As he works on his own creation of scribbles and blobs, Brittany forms calming abstracts of blue and green.
Growing up with a grandmother who was an artist, Brittany has always been inspired to paint, but it wasn’t until she was pregnant with her son that she decided to get into the art form as an adult. “I kept thinking about it and thinking about it, and finally bought some supplies after he was born,” she says.
Brittany knew from the beginning that she wanted to create abstracts. As a child, though, she had been surrounded by her grandmother’s oil paintings, which were more realistic in style. Now, their common passion for art bonds them even more. Her grandmother often offers her advice on technique and is one of her biggest cheerleaders. “It’s really neat because our styles are so different,” Brittany says, “but we still share the same love of painting.”
When she was first learning how to paint, Brittany found inspiration in other artists’ work, and as she tried to replicate their techniques, she found her own style: building up texture by using modeling paste to create layers upon layers of paint. Along the way, blues and greens have become her signature colors too.
Now that she’s been painting for two years, Brittany finds inspiration from being in nature. “It really offers me therapy,” she explains. “I feel better when I get some sunshine on my face.” She tries to get outside as often as possible and likes to take her son to the trails by her house in Ross Bridge. Painting these nature scenes reminds her of growing up in the country, of her family’s land with big hay bales and playing barefoot in the grass.
While some artists find their inspiration through pain, it’s the opposite for Brittany, as is evident in her colorful layers. “My biggest inspiration is having margin in my life,” she says. “For me, this is the happiest stage of my life—having a young child, being married—and I’ve been more inspired in this stage than any other stage.”
As a former English and theatre teacher, Brittany has always been inspired by words as well as art, and you’ll find them as names for each of her creations. One of her paintings, titled Counting Sheep, was based off a poem she wrote of the same name when she wanted to capture the moment after her son had fallen asleep. “It’s a very intuitive process,” she says about naming her art. “Sometimes a word will pop into my head, and I’ll paint something that reminds me of that word. I want it to be meaningful.”
About a year ago, Brittany decided to start sharing her work on social media and with other artists for the first time, and the positive feedback encouraged her to begin to sell her art. “It’s a very intimidating step because it’s very vulnerable,” she admits. One of her earliest motivators was Tom Findlay, owner of Thomas Andrew Art Gallery in Homewood, who told her that her art is very sellable. “I wasn’t expecting that,” she says, “but that gave me the confidence to share more.” In fact, Tom even asked if he could sell her art in his gallery.
And that was just the start of the world social media has opened her art to. “It’s really surprised me how sharing my art has helped me to create more community,” she says. “From sales to connecting with other artists to connecting with retail stores or galleries, I’ve been surprised. The more you share, the more people will see it, the more people will want to connect with you.”
Still, what most motivates Brittany the most is encouraging others to be creative, living by the motto, “To inspire people, don’t show them your superpowers, show them theirs,” as well as spiritual connections. “For me, creating art is about sharing God’s love,” Brittany says. “I feel like God has given us all a gift, like he’s created us to be creative.”
In addition to her work as an artist, Brittany works as a content creator for Megan LaRussa’s Style Yourself Chic, a personal styling business. As she continues to carve out time to paint on top of that job and motherhood, she has started working on multiple paintings at once to assist with the layering process and saving time. Having her family on her team is a big part of making that happen. “(My husband) has no problem with me painting in the kitchen or upstairs,” she says. “He doesn’t understand my desire to paint, but I don’t understand his desire to golf or watch football. I love that we have our separate passions and support both of them,” she adds, jokingly.
Brittany’s hope is to continue to grow as an artist and encourage others. “I’m still learning, and I think my style will evolve,” she says. “The one thing I want people to know is that everyone is creative.”
Brittany’s work is sold in Shoppe on Broadway and Alabama Treasures in Homewood, as well as Kathleen Interiors in Decatur. Follow her art on Instagram @britlegvold.
Artist Brittany Legvold wrote this poem after watching her young son sleep, and it inspired a painting by the same name.
The sweet coos, the pitter patter of little feet, chubby cheeks and squishy legs,
The “mommy and me” he says when he wants me to put him to sleep
The up and down, filling cups and cleaning counters of spilled cups
The falls and scrapes and bruises and cuts
The holding my hand walking into preschool each day
The tantrums, the whines, the pleas for “one more time”
My heart bursting out of my chest with the deepest love I didn’t know I had
You, my son, are my greatest joy
I’ll lay beside you and count sheep as long as you’d like…
These are the best days of my life