07 May Artist Spotlight :: Fonda Clark Haight
Welcome! For the last few months, every Tuesday and Thursday Tonia Jenny, the 21 SECRETS Creative Director & Course Manager, has interviewed one of the talented teachers in our 21 SECRETS program for an Artist Spotlight. Today is the last interview in this series.
If this is your first time here, please CLICK HERE to check out past interviews.
Thank you to all the teachers that have generously shared their creative insight with us! Happy Painting!
Hi Artful Friend!
Our final 21 SECRETS Face-Time Spotlight Artist is none other than mystical Wise Woman, Fonda Clark Haight. I’ve followed Fonda on Instagram for a while now and I am always mesmerized by the gripping mystery of her art. After getting to know her and her way of working a bit more, I now know that the mystery is a part of her expressing her most authentic self and I love that. Fonda’s Face-Time lesson, Mostly True, teaches us to recognize that when something seems like it’s missing in our artwork, the missing element is us and she shares with us ways to coax us to put more of who we are into our work.
I found Fonda’s answers to these questions extremely thought-provoking and I believe you will, as well.
Name a time you “felt the fear and did it anyway” with regards to art making.
I am a North Carolina native and moved to the mountains twenty years ago. I have no formal training in the arts. I think I took one art class in college. When I was 34, my twin sister gave me a set of watercolors for Christmas. I was horrible with watercolors lol. But there was something about the way it made me feel—something about creating—that I knew was for me. It was a clarity of expression that I had not really known until then. I haven’t looked back once since that day.
I began teaching arts and crafts to high-risk students in my 30s. I think it’s important to share what you can and I was able to share a way to create a space to dump some of the emotional baggage that these students were carrying. The truth is though, they taught me so much more than I ever taught them. They taught me that searching for truth and creating in an authentic way, was all that mattered, because that had the biggest impact on their lives and the lives of the viewers. They taught me to watch the process unfold and to let it unfold organically.
Is there an element about your process that you’re especially passionate about?
I’m passionate about exploring the down deep. The Down Deep is my shorthand for what is stored in our subconscious. We need that knowledge today more than ever. I believe that the better we know and understand ourselves and our truth, the better our world will be. When an artist draws that beautiful face, landscape or animal, and they look at it and think something is missing, what’s missing is their truth and emotions.
Your feelings, your truth in the moment, your experience as a human being, these are the things that help you create a style, a call to the viewer, a healing experience. This is a process about learning to be truthful. About answering the question what was my truth today? I teach my students to move away from judging their art and in place of that, ask themselves if they’ve told their truth. We live in a society that judges everything and it’s my belief that it’s a wasted exercise of the ego. What happens if we like a piece of art? Nothing. What happens if we hate a piece of art? Nothing. The art is still the same. The art itself hasn’t changed. If we can realize that our judgements are NOT the truth—but a way to keep from telling the truth—then we begin the process of discovering WHAT our truth is and putting THAT on the page. I believe that the truth heals and the message to the viewer will resonate with that healing.
Is there a “secret message” you often want your work to convey?
I use animals a lot in my artwork. For me, they are a signpost and have certain meanings; they are placeholders. I use personal symbols and animal placeholders as a private shorthand to remind myself of the intuitive messages I discover in my art. For instance, I’ve been working with foxes for about two years. Foxes symbolize quick thinking, ability to move past obstacles and intuitiveness. I know that when I “see” an animal or symbol in my work, it’s a message from my subconscious or I wouldn’t see it to begin with. Here’s a Sufi story that sums it up for me. The students were all asking their master, “What will happen to us when you die; what will become of us?” The master looked at the students and said, “All these years I’ve been with you I’ve been pointing at the moon. I hope that when I die, you will finally look at the moon.” For me, art and the classes I teach, are my way of pointing at the moon. My way of pointing to the mystery and magic of the spiritual part of my life, sometimes it’s just in the little details that I notice as I go about creating, and sometimes it’s something bigger. At least I hope it is.
What is the one thing you hope we remember from your workshop?
I hope you will remember to tell your truth, in all its ugliness and beauty. Just realizing that it’s yours and no one else can tell your truth but you!
What is your life mantra?
My mantra is to “allow it all.” Tell the truth and allow that to be enough.
“Our judgements are not the truth—but a way to keep from telling the truth.”
Thanks so much, Fonda for wrapping up this series of interviews with much truth for us to nurture and watch grow. For more wise and regular insights, you can follow Fonda on social media.
Fonda Clark Haight is a mixed media, intuitive artist living in the mountains of NC. Looking past the obvious, close observation and engagement of my truth is the process. The challenge is to see beyond the distractions of the conspicuous to engage with my feelings deep in the subconscious. My goal is to inspire those who see my work to look more carefully at the world around them, to discover beauty in unusual places, and to question the truth in themselves.
Fonda Teaches Mostly True in 21 SECRETS Face Time
In this lesson, we will focus more on process than on an end result. When you draw that beautiful face, landscape, or animal, and you look at it and think something is missing, what’s missing is you. Your feelings, your truth in the moment, your experience as a human being . . . these are the things that help you create a style, a call to the viewer, a healing experience. This is a process about learning to be truthful. About answering the question: What was my truth today?