Living the Dream with Candace Primack!


What dream? I bet you have it too. The one where you are a painter, like, for a living. You have a studio with big windows, tons of natural light, crazy high ceilings, tons of room for canvases and bookcases of paint. Right? Or is it just me? When I have this dream, my studio looks EXACTLY like Candace's. She is totally living the artist/painter dream and I dig it.

Recently I got to spend the afternoon with Candace Primack, abstract painter, in this very studio. I was introduced to her by a mutual friend (Love you Lizzie!) and it was one of those meetings where the conversation totally clicked and I knew we had to have her on Art Fare. As a person in her 50s, Candace offers some valuable perspective to younger artists. At one of her recent talks, a young girl asked how she deals with criticism. Candace offers that criticism is part of the deal for any artist no matter how talented they are. There are billions of people on this planet, and we do not all like the same things. Period. We all see the world through our own personal lens that is formed by our individual and unique experiences. No two people see the world the same. No two people see anything the same! The older we get, the more comfortable we get with this knowledge.

Candace did not start painting until her late 30s. She was feeling a pull to do something creative and enrolled in a pottery class. Not really feeling a connection to pottery, she tried a silk screening class, print making, drawing, and a handful of other art classes. Then, she tried abstract painting.

“I thought OK, this is who I am.”

She took abstract painting classes for 3 years and met a group of women who would be instrumental in providing support and feedback and guidance. They met for 3 hours every friday for 7 years. “We processed our lives. We were all in different stages of raising our kids. It was lovely. We all had different mediums: watercolor, collage, figurative, abstract.”

Candace says she comes to the studio most days of the week. Some days she is a girl on fire painting and creating, other days she might be getting inspiration, reading and studying different artists. One thing she does every morning (which I absolutely love) is set her intention with a meditation.

Upon arriving at the studio in the morning, she has a variety of inspirational books that she will choose from to read for 20 minutes. Then comes time for prayer and meditation with the intention of submitting. Submitting to having positive energy for the day. She knows frustration and sadness are normal and a part of life, but with this process is sets the intention to not to let those things hold her back. She says starting her day with intention to paint with Joy and Gratefulness has changed her life. Even though it doesn’t always happen, the intention is always there. Candace says she can feel the difference since she has been practicing this morning routine 7 months ago. She is less frantic and impatient. She is easier on herself and less self critical or discouraged with a tough piece.

One of the best things about making art is having an an avenue to express yourself and work through the rough stuff. Candace said that after the Presidential election she had a really hard time making anything. Then she spent some time painting really dark pieces. In February, she painted over all of them. Doesn't that just give you the chills??? Candace said it felt good to work through all of that, and the most beautiful thing about it is that these canvases have a deep base layer to them. So even when painted over, the darkness shows through in places. It doesn't go away completely. F*ing deep Candace! One of them that feels particularly transformative to her she titled: "The Day She Let the Light In."

Are you guys seeing how much paint and supplies it takes to do this? It boggles the brain. I loved seeing some of her work up close. You can see in the pieces below that she uses many layers of paint and other materials to add texture and dimention. 

We’ve all had those conversations with strangers making small talk where they ask what you are up to, and when you say “Going into work” they say, “I’m sorry!” Candace loves these because she gets to say, “No I love going into work! I’m an artist, I get to paint all day.”

I’ve never been happier. I feel really truly grateful.  


Thank you Candace for sharing so much with Art Fare! You are a dream and an inspiration in following your own unique path.  

For those of us in Portland, we can see Candace's art right now at the Ford Gallery at 2505 SE 11th Ave through July 5th. AND she has 7 large piece up at the Eastbank Commerce Center 1001 SE Water Ave (right by Clark Lewis-yum) that will be through the month of July.

You can also find Candace's website here, and follow her gorgeous Instagram feed here

Be sure to share this profile with all the people in your life who dream of being a painter or creating art - they will thank you!