Linda Wandt is an Austin based oil painter who primarily focuses on portraiture and figurative works. Her paintings often use symbolism to create narrative, although a straightforward figurative practice is also crucial to honing skills. Through painting, Linda is exploring the topics of forging identity, what it means to be female in the present as well as in the past, and examining the subconscious and how it interacts with the conscious mind. The bridge between the two aspects of the mind has been a significant focus of her art making, revealing themes of duality and internal conflict, leading as well to conflict that arises from inner desires versus the external world we find ourselves in. The figures tend to stare directly at the viewer, which can be seen either as a confrontation to be acknowledged or an invitation to enter their world and to contemplate the figures as they are presented – not often as nudes on display, but rather as dressed beings, minds with thoughts and dreams. The works are narratives that focus on personal choice resulting in how we chose to create ourselves, mainly on an individual basis, although a small number of the pieces are intended societal commentaries. The narratives and characters in these paintings which often incorporate the symbolism of flora and fauna to signify our external surroundings, invite the viewer to question these topics in their own way, leaving room to interpret the images through their own filters of perception.
Linda works with oils for the versatility available through the medium, as well as the challenges it presents. Alternating the methods of textural wet-on-wet work, and indirect thin layers of paint built up over time keeps painting fresh and exciting. While the style of realism possible is appealing with the indirect approach, these pieces take longer to complete. The direct approach is somewhat quicker, and allows for a more visceral expression of emotion through brush strokes and palette knife work. She has worked with a variety of mediums, but oil paints bring the strongest sensation of being home.
The bee paintings were a three year side project begun after "Instinct vs Intellect" was completed in 2014. The series is a pointed statement about the current peril of bees, a symptom of the result of current political affairs. Linda also finds a sense of meditative calmness in recreating the details of their intricate anatomy. She found a knack for painting animals after gifting a humorous painting to her brother of a buck-toothed llama. She began receiving commissions for other non-human portraits, and began playing with ways to give deeper meaning to the images of animals as she began experimenting with watercolor and pen as a medium. More recently, landscapes have been springing up as a relaxing celebration of the natural world and for the sheer joy of swatches of luscious color.