Courtney Hopkins is a representational landscape and botanical artist based near Charlottesville, Virginia. Despite being largely self-taught, her art practice is deeply rooted in the study of flora and fauna, as well as wild, natural environments that have captured her interest since childhood when she explored the Blue Ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. In 2013, Courtney graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Media Arts and Design and subsequently launched her fine art and illustration business, Tiny Pine Art, in 2019.
Known for creating illustrations spanning botanicals to landscapes, Courtney’s work has been showcased on wine labels, apparel, maps, web graphics, murals, magazines, and book covers. Her artistic style is characterized by highly detailed and realistic elements, employing various mediums to achieve diverse effects, ranging from elegant black and white line-work to subjects bursting off the page with vibrant color. The name “Tiny Pine Art” pays tribute to her favorite tree and serves as a representation of the studio itself—a small, one-woman show.
When not engaged in art-making, Courtney can be found tending to tomato plants in the garden, enjoying sci-fi movies with a pint of ice cream, or exploring the local Virginia countryside in the company of her husband, son, and their dog Maisie.
Artrepreneur: What emotions do you aim to evoke through your paintings?
CH: I’m hoping that my artwork inspires curiosity and wonder in the subject matter that I choose to paint. I love highlighting plants and places that I believe have a special importance in today’s age, whether it’s because they help improve the environment, or because they’re places worth preserving. I focus on heirloom varieties and native, pollinator-friendly plants to show that through our small actions of planting beneficial species, we can make a positive impact on our local environment around us in a way that is also beautiful to us.
ATP: How does your choice of subject matter reflect your values and interests?
CH: Creating art allows me to better explore the world and deepens my appreciation for the places that make it truly unique. I am a passionate amateur gardener, and I love hiking and traveling. All of these interests fuel my inspiration to create. In a fast-paced world of digital distraction I believe in the importance of slowing down and spending uninterrupted time in nature. As deforestation risks wildlife habitats and threatens the existence of natural spaces within our communities, I’m hoping that my artwork highlights their beauty in a way that fosters respect and encourages their preservation for the sake of biodiversity and our own well–being as humans.
ATP: Can you tell us about your creative process from ideation to completion?
CH: All of my artworks are inspired by my experiences in nature. They all start with a specific “aha!” moment that is purely intuitive where what I see triggers an instantaneous, creative idea. If I can’t stop thinking about it, I know I have to create it. For me, the practice of painting is a meditative, laser-focused study of the flora, fauna, geology, climate, colors, and textures of a place. None of my paintings or drawings begin without an intensive period of planning, reference gathering, day-dreaming, and sketching. I love taking my pochade box that my husband made me on location and painting en plain air to capture colors and feelings that camera images sometimes can’t replicate. I tend to be a meticulous person and I don’t like wasting art materials either so I prefer to solidify an idea in my mind and with a sketch to make sure the composition and color choices are just right. This gives me confidence and excitement as I translate that idea into the final artwork.
ATP: How do you handle artistic blocks or periods of creative stagnation? Are there any strategies you employ to overcome these challenges?
CH: I must have music on in the background and usually listen to film scores, international folk, and Neo-classical to get me in the right mood to be creative. (Fun fact: I minored in music and have enjoyed composing my own from time to time so this really gets the creative juices flowing). I try not to study what other artists are creating too much and prefer to always get my inspiration from my own experiences so that my work is unique. If I ever need new ideas or feel stagnant, a walk in the woods or a drive through the countryside always triggers some new ideas or at the very least, leaves me inspired.
ATP: How do you approach the initial stages of a new sculpture? What inspires your creative process?
ATP: How does the process of creating art affect your mood or mindset? Do you find it therapeutic or challenging?
CH: Being immersed in the process of painting nature is where I feel most in awe, alive, and at peace. My brain tends to over think and when I am creating, I lose myself in the process and obsess over the details. It allows me to take all of my focus and channel it into something constructive that I can control. I find the entire experience therapeutic and fulfilling.
To view more of Courtney’S work please visit her Artrepreneur profile.