We spent the day with local artist Nathan Ledyard to see how he creates his unique works of art. From a completely flat, normal wood board, he constructs a beautiful 3-D wave and scenery that sets the mood for any room it's displayed in. Nathan, who started practicing art as a hobby,
has now gained exposure throughout the Southern California art scene.
How'd you get started?
"Started as a hobby at first, had some friends who got married and thought I'd be saving money by making them their wedding presents. I didn't save a whole lot of time or money, but people asked for more paintings after that which really jump started the hobby. Few years after that I decided to take the leap into full time art. I knew that's what I wanted to be doing full time, just had to take a leap of faith."
What was your background before starting you art career?
"Before doing art full-time and while it was still a hobby, I was an attorney. I practiced four years in San Diego while still keeping the art thing going."
What's your favorite thing about woodworking?
"My favorite thing about working with wood, is the wood itself. Each piece is unique and tells it’s own story. I usually look through a lot of wood before I start my projects. It's like looking at clouds, each person views them as a different thing. There’s distinct wood textures and patterns and I go with what the wood gives me, forcing me to be more creative. So the wood is the driving force behind coming up with more creative ideas to use and that usually makes the piece unique and organic feeling."
"What continues to inspire you?
"The wood always keeps me inspired as well as the ocean and surfing as the main source of my inspiration. I want to paint visions of what I see when I'm out on the water. I want other people to feel and see themselves out on the water as well like they're surfing or enjoying life when they look at my pieces on the wall."
What's the most challenging aspect?
"The most challenging aspect is progressing. I'm always pushing the boundaries and trying new things. Sometimes with these new projects, I find myself running into roadblocks; making a small piece will even take a long time to create. Maybe it doesn't paint out the way I'd hope and I'll have to restart the whole thing. A lot of times you run into a problem that you'll need to figure a way around, but it seems like I'll discover a new skill in overcoming that obstacle."
How long does each piece take to create?
"It definitely depends, but in general a big piece takes a month or even two sometimes. Smaller ones I can do in a couple days to a week and I'm usually working on several at a time, I'll be carving for a day and do a few and then paint a few the next day. But usually between a week to a month at a time."
Do you do specific locations or what comes to you?
"I do a lot of commission work for specific locations. They want their home break done or something they like. But if it was up to me every time, I'd make it up and wouldn't be restricted by what it looks like in reality but really incorporate the patterns of the wood and make that the main source of inspiration."
What would you say to a young artist that wants to create?
"Just do it. If you have any desire to create, just do it. It's the best hobby to have. It's something you can do your whole life. It's fun, relaxing, it compliments anything else you do in life and you can draw inspiration from other parts of your life. Now I'm doing it full time, so you never know. I had no training in art, woodworking or anything like that. It was always fun from the get go. Just put the time into it."
Check out more from Nathan by following him on Instagram and visiting his website
nathan-ledyard.pixels.com. Also be sure to check him out Saturday March 10 at the Seacoast Gallery in Carlsbad 6pm-10pm!
(RSVP to Fineart@Seacoastgallery.com)
Written by: Nick Small
Video & Photography by: TJ Kolesnik