Fatima Young was born in Europe of Russian heritage and came to the United States with her parents as a toddler. She has now called Bainbridge Island her home for almost 30 years. It was that heritage, specifically the Russian Impressionists, that inspired her artistic interests in her youth.
Although she enjoyed studying art and painting during high school and college, it was 25 years before she could return to it. She went on to receive degrees from F.I.T. and C.W. Post University in New York, raised her son, and had a long and successful career in magazine publishing. When she began painting again, her late husband was her greatest advocate, encouraging her to showcase her work publicly, inspiring her first official exhibit at the Russian Cultural Center in Seattle. When he passed, she found solace in hiking and painting outdoors, which solidified her love of Plein Air painting.
I asked Fatima how her work has evolved over the last year: “As a plein air painter, I’m used to studying nature at its purest,” she said. “The Pandemic has changed things up a bit. Until it got too cold to paint outdoors, you could find me painting locally at the Bainbridge Vineyards, meeting other masked plein air painters at Blakely Harbor or set up with my easel at Battle Point Park pond.”
However, she’s now indoors for the winter and having discovered her studio was too small, she improvised by converting a portion of her great room into her new studio. She loves the large space because it allows her to step back and view her works in progress with a new perspective, not to mention the acoustics perfectly reflect the Jazz, Blues, cranked-up Rap and Classical music she enjoys while painting, inspiring her even further. She also purchased a professional lamp that offers a warm and cool light to brighten up these cloudy days and dark nights.
Like most of us, the pandemic has stifled her social life. “I now find myself focusing on painting every day, and I choose the objects of my composition wisely and with gratitude,” she said. “My intent is always to reduce the elements into simple shapes and strokes, letting the viewer imagine the rest.”
Having art in her life this past year has saved her, she told me. “I don’t know what I would do without having this passion. It keeps my spirits high and I literally can’t wait to get to my easel in the morning after my hike.”
Fatima feels that art influences us all, but its particularly important in today’s environment. As she describes it: “Though these are difficult times, I try to see the good and try to translate my positive views onto the canvas. Even when I’m painting a still life, my emotions come through. Hopefully when others view my work, it brings them some joy in these harsh times.”
Prior to the pandemic, Fatima continued to hone her craft, taking workshops and finding inspiration through her travels of the Pacific Northwest, other parts of the United States, and Europe, and she’s very much looking forward towards the future when she can resume those activities.
Her preferred medium is oil on canvas board as opposed to traditional canvas. In the tradition of the Russian Impressionists, she uses a palette knife and bolder chroma to add contrast of light and dark to her work, creating magical and vivid movement as well as serene tranquility to her pieces. Although the majority of her work is done outdoors, she also enjoys painting still life and portraits in her studio.
Her work is currently on exhibit at the Matzke Gallery on Camano Island until the end of January. She is also featured in a lovely group show locally at Amelia Wynn Bistro until the restaurant opens for inside seating. “Covid may have us dining outside…but it feels so celebratory here… the heat lamps are warm, the food is exceptional and the art show is a feast for the soul,” she said.
You can view more of Fatima’s work on her website, www.FatimaYoungArt.com.
ABOUT MARGARET MILLMORE. Margaret Millmore is a supernatural fiction author and blogger, living on Bainbridge Island with her husband, Bryan. Her first published works were flash fiction, The Welcome Home and Untitled – Luke N. Goode, which were featured on Bay Area artist, Kenny Mencher’s blog. In 2011 she published her first full length novel, since then she’s published a three book series, another novel and her current series (via Next Chapter Publishing – formerly Creativia Publishing) What Haunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 1); The Edge of the Cemetery (Ghost Killer Book 2), which was awarded the August 2016 Book of the Month award by Long and Short Reviews; and What Hunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 3). The majority of her books are set in San Francisco where she lived—previous to island life—for over 26 years. Her preferred writing genre is supernatural fiction, with the exception of her time-travel novel, The Dragonfly Door. In addition to her novels, Margaret writes a blog, called The Island Wanderer – which focuses on people, events and businesses on Bainbridge Island: https://theislandwanderer.com/blog/. All her books can be found on her website and her Amazon Author page.