Featured Artist Linda Hawkins
4 minutes

Featured Artist Linda Hawkins

- edited by: Laura Burgess

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Linda F. Hawkins has always made art and is happiest when she is doing something creative. Linda feels that art and other creative endeavors are really good for our mental health. Linda has a Masters of Arts from the University of Florida with a focus on the arts in the healthcare environment and has seen firsthand how participating in a creative activity can change a person’s mental state. She recently retired from Baptist Health where she co-developed and led a program for patients with cognitive impairment at Age Well Center for Senior Health. Patients who were unable to speak were able to make wonderful small works of art.

Linda creates art because it makes her happy, is good for her and gives her an outlet to express herself. Linda is inspired by nature, the Caribbean and color. She has lived on the water for the past 19 years, first on the Arlington River, a tributary of the St. Johns River, and now on a lake. She is in love with the birds that visit the waterways. They have been a great resource for painting reference. Whether she paints them realistically or does something in mixed media, they will often appear in her work. Linda is also inspired by all artists, musicians, writers and other creatives. It is hard to put in the time and to expose yourself as a creator.

She really admires anyone who takes the risk and keeps at it. Linda has had the good fortune to study under many famous artists like Mary Whyte, Alvaro Castagnet, Nicholas Simmons, Cheng-Khee Chee and Karen Knutsen to name a few. She learns something from everyone and incorporates bits of it into into her work. But the greatest creator is God and Linda thinks his amazing creation of the natural world is the biggest influence on her. She can only aspire to create something as magical. Linda hopes that her work says that she is a fun, creative, nature lover who loves to travel.

You can find Linda F. Hawkins on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ltlhawkstudios, on Instagram @ltlhawkstudios.

It all started with a box of crayons

So nice to meet you Linda! So getting started, tell us in what part of the First Coast do you reside now and how long have you lived there? 

I’ve lived in St. Johns (Fruit Cove) for the past 3 years. Prior to that, we lived on the Arlington River for about 16 years. I moved to the First Coast from the Atlanta area in 1996.

How long have you been doing your craft or trade? 

All my life! I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t doing something creative. I started making art with the first box of crayons my dad gave me and then when he gave me a Jon Nagy Art Kit there was no turning back.

What brings out your creativity? 

Spending time in nature, spending time with my granddaughters, spending time with my artist tribe and traveling, especially cruising.

What does your work aim to say? Are you trying to bring a smile to someone’s face or add to someone’s home decor? 

I don’t make art to convey some subliminal message but rather as a self-expression of my impression of things that caught my eye as a thing of beauty, whether it is just the bright red and yellow tips on a Cedar Waxwing wings or the peaceful calm of a pond filled with waterlilies. It’s also about the joy of the process for me. I hope that others feel the same about the work when they see it. 

Are there any spaces or designers that have influenced you? 

I wish I could remember the name of the very first art gallery I ever visited. I was about 13 when my school took a field trip to Hershey, PA. I became obsessed with becoming a professional artist from that point on. Here locally, I am greatly impressed by the fabulous Art Market of Atlantic Beach. Chelsea and Jeff Leonard, along with Gloria Moore have really created something special and I am thrilled to be a vendor there. I lost my mentor, Kathryn Hannon Milkey a few years ago and I struggled to remain active without her pushing me. Fortunately,  I am blessed with a great close-knit group of artist friends who are so encouraging and helpful. They are both cheerleaders and critics and help keep me on track. I admire the work of watercolor portrait artist, Mary Whyte and the great storytelling art of watercolorist Dean Mitchell.

What is your favorite artistic accomplishment? 

They all are! Actually, I’d have to count getting into the Florida Watercolor Society Exhibit twice along with one time in their online exhibit. I just need to be accepted once more to obtain my signature membership, a goal I’ve been working on for many years. It is quite a prestigious honor as there are over 1,000 members who enter and only 100 entries are accepted into the show each year. 

Do you have a specific piece you would love to talk about or promote? 

Yes. It is a large watercolor of a hawk in flight titled “The Wild Hawk to the Windswept Sky” after a line in the poem “The Gipsy Trail” by Rudyard Kipling. He and Mary Oliver are favorite poets of mine.

What is the best way for artists to network? 

Join artist groups! At one time or another, I have belonged to every artist group on the First Coast. Get on the boards so you not only meet members but get to know guest artists and workshop instructors. And don’t just join local groups. I have memberships in state, regional and national associations and have met people from all over the world through their conventions, exhibits and workshops. 

If you had a question you would like to ask another artist what would it be? 

How did you do that!!??? I’m always curious about others’ work, thought processes and techniques.

What’s the best thing for you about living on the First Coast? 

The weather! The beaches! The people! And it’s close to Port Canaveral so I can hop on my favorite cruise line without having to fly!

How can we see your work? 

On my website at www.lindafhawkins.com, on my social media – Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ltlhawkstudios, on Instagram @ltlhawkstudios. And at Atlantic Beach Arts Market in Mayport as well as at P.A.St.A Art Gallery in St. Augustine.

Is there anything else that you want to tell everyone? 

Take time to enjoy the simple things in life. Be good to one another. This life is short and we should all live like there is no tomorrow. Don’t wait to do the things you dream of. Start today.

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