Artist Interview: Pauli Hagan

Posted by Jenni Kirby - September 08 2022


Q. What inspired you to get into the arts?
A. I remember when I was young, I would get craft kits for Christmas, and I just loved them! When my two youngest children were in high school, I went to an art show and saw an artist I loved who offered classes. So, I signed up for watercolor classes and just fell in love.
Q. Tell me about your creative process / How do you approach new projects?
A. I painted realistically at first, and then eventually moved into more abstract work. While I started working with watercolor I eventually switched to acrylic. I found that I kept trying to change the watercolor texture and eventually my instructor recommended that I try acrylic instead. I never looked back. When starting my creative work, I usually work from a photograph. Sometimes I start just straight on the panel, most of the time I pay attention to my emotions that day and start with marks, shapes, and color. The shapes kind of speak to you about what could be. You must have some emotional connection to what you’re painting and, hopefully, that comes across to others.
Q. Who and/or what are your biggest inspirations and how do they influence your work?
A. I have learned to use a limited palette, it’s easier to work with and gives you so many colors and they all go together. I pick my colors first because I am a very colorful painter, my favorite color combination is orange and teal. My parents were Mexican, and I was born there, so you can see where my love of color comes from. We had a lot of color in the house growing up. The colors you surround yourself with really do make you feel something personal.
Q. What is your favorite subject matter to focus on and why?
A. Right now, I am painting mostly abstract which is my favorite by far. I love “mark making” and working on shapes. Some of my favorite paintings are of my grandchildren. I painted all of them when they were younger which was a lot of fun. It made me happy to be able to capture their essence. I don’t paint people. Looking back at the paintings I don’t know how I did it, really.
Q. What are you working on now?
A. I just finished some paintings that will be in the Gallery Show at First Unitarian Universalist Church. I am finishing up a very abstract painting for them. The show is a fundraiser for the church and it’s always a great turn out.
Q. If you had a motto, for your art and life, what would it be?
A. Always be open to learning and changing because life is ever changing. You think it will go one way, but it doesn’t always, so you must adapt, or you will sink. I have gone from realistic watercolor to very abstract. It’s so wonderful to evolve.